Article from AlumnInsider ()
August 15, 2007
Huddle with the Faculty Before Home Games This Fall

Football Saturday mornings at Penn State are more than just tailgating. Before heading over to Beaver Stadium, alumni, and friends can catch a quick breakfast and some food for thought at “Huddle with the Faculty,” the popular lecture series that begins Sept. 1 at The Nittany Lion Inn. From the mystery of the disappearing bees to the ins and outs of Penn State sports medicine, “Huddle with the Faculty” includes a wide range of topics.

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Sept. 1, Florida International
9:00 a.m.
“What’s the Buzz? The Mystery of the Disappearing Bees”
Dr. Diana Cox-Foster
Professor of Entomology

The disappearance of an alarming number of honeybees—between 55 and 100 percent of entire colonies—is shocking beekeepers and confounding scientists across the nation. Recent surveys reveal that at least 26 percent of beekeepers have lost a significant number of their bee colonies between September 2006 and March 2007. Colony Collapse Disorder, as the syndrome has been termed, is threatening to have a dramatic impact on America’s $14 billion industry of fruit, vegetable, and nut crops that rely on honeybee pollination. Dr. Diana Cox-Foster will share some of the cutting-edge research she and other scientists are conducting to find the underlying causes of the mysterious losses. Their top foci include new or reemerging pathogens, pesticides, and nutritional stress. She will also discuss the role of the honeybee and other pollinators in the world around us and in producing the food we eat.

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Sept. 8, Notre Dame
10:00 a.m.
“Your Skin, Warts and All: The Evolution and Cultural History of Human Skin”
Dr. Nina Jablonski
Professor and Department Head of Anthropology

Dr. Nina Jablonski, whose new book Skin is garnering considerable attention from The New York Times, Atlantic Magazine, and other major publications, offers a look at the evolution and cultural history of skin. "When you meet people, whether they're fully clothed on the street or scantily clad on the beach, the first part of their body that you see, smell, and perhaps touch is the skin,” says Jared Diamond, award-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel in a review of Jablonski’s book. “Nina Jablonski gives us the best and most fascinating account of everything that you might want to know about the packaging of our anatomy." Dr. Jablonski will inspire an appreciation of human skin by exploring the evolution and development of its range of colors, its capacity to produce sweat and other essential substances, and its service as a canvas for personal expression.

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Sept. 15, Buffalo
9:00 a.m.
“Wake Up and Smell the Coffee—Race and Ethnicity Issues in Academia and Beyond”
Dr. Andrew Jackson
Senior Academic Advisor

What is multiculturalism? Why is it important? And what are we doing as a University and community to create a welcoming climate? Whether we are immigrants or migrants, citizens or aliens, perceptions of race and ethnicity affect our thinking, behavior, attitudes, and actions. Dr. Andrew Jackson, an academic adviser and counselor in Penn State’s College of Education for more than two decades, will talk about race and ethnicity in academia and beyond. Dr. Jackson will provide a historical and conceptual overview of the major concepts in today’s discussions of race and ethnicity—from the roots of the critical term “multiculturalism” to the symbol of the melting pot and more—and how we are all impacted by campus and community perceptions of race and ethnicity.

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Oct. 6, Iowa
9:00 a.m.*
“Who Makes a Masterpiece? Brush Strokes and Spin Doctors Since the Renaissance”
Dr. Charlotte M. Houghton
Associate Professor of Art History and 2007 Alumni Teaching Fellow

Painters and sculptors may craft their works alone, but it takes an establishment of artistic spin doctors to elevate and sustain their creations as “masterpieces.” The promotion of many artists—from Michelangelo to Jackson Pollack to Damien Hirst—offers surprising parallels to modern political campaigns. Dr. Charlotte Houghton examines how the cumulative foundation of a culture’s artistic tradition is shaped and maintained by a network of artists’ biographers, art dealers, curators, and collectors past and present. But change may lie ahead. How will 21st-century globalization and digitalization affect the system of making masterpieces that has been in place for the past 500 years?

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Oct. 13, Wisconsin
10:00 a.m.
“Climate Change Déjà vu: The Lessons of Southwest Archaeology”
Dr. Dean Snow
Professor of Anthropology and President of the Society for American Archaeology

The American Southwest is rich with archaeological artifacts—artifacts that tell the story of the area’s former greatness. For a millennium or more, noble civilizations like the Ancestral Pueblos, often referred to as the Anasazi, once reigned supreme in the Southwest. Discoveries of their Great Houses, multi-story dwellings with hundreds of rooms, provide evidence of a flourishing society. Today, the ruins of these and other structures of the Ancestral Puebloans are studied to understand what brought about the demise of this great culture. Recent compelling evidence found by archaeologists suggests that the culture of the Ancestral Puebloans was affected by the deforestation and drought caused by dramatic climate change. Learn about what happened to the Ancestral Puebloans of the American Southwest and what lessons we can draw as we face today’s climate change phenomena.

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Oct. 27, Ohio State
10:00 a.m.
“Penn State Sports Medicine: Never a Dull Moment”
Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli
Kalenak Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation and Director of Athletic Medicine

As the official team physicians for the Nittany Lions, the Hershey Bears, and all of Penn State’s talented student-athletes, the physicians of Penn State Sports Medicine have seen it all. From evaluating and treating sports-related injuries to working with players to enhance athletic performance, Penn State Sports Medicine has helped hundreds of players and coaches over the years. Dr. Sebastianelli will share some of their many success stories and explain how Penn State Sports Medicine gets folks back on their feet and back on their game. Immediately following the presentation, Physical Therapist Dean Plafcan will lead a tour of Penn State’s new Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Center. Transportation will be provided from The Nittany Lion Inn.

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Nov. 3, Purdue
9:00 a.m.*
“The Future of Bioethics: From the Microscope to the Macroscopic”
Jonathan H. Marks
Associate Professor of Bioethics, Humanities, and Law and Director of the Bioethics and Medical Humanities Program

The public face of bioethics, says Professor Jonathan Marks, concerns itself with hot-button issues, frequently at the level of patient care—cloning, stem cells, physician-assisted suicide. But underlying those issues are larger policy-level questions that too often are neglected: questions involving access to healthcare, the conduct of clinical trials, regulatory oversight, and disaster preparedness. Marks, an Oxford-trained barrister and bioethicist, will discuss the evolution of bioethics and the contribution that various academic disciplines have to contribute to a broader bioethics agenda—one that can tackle difficult questions from social justice to stem cells and genetics.

* If the kickoff time is after 3:00 p.m., breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m., lectures begin at 9:00 a.m.

Huddle with the Faculty is sponsored by the Penn State Alumni Association, The Nittany Lion Inn, Penn State Bookstore, and Penn State Press.

For more information, contact Mary Jane Stout at the Penn State Alumni Association at 814-865-LION (5466) or e-mail

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