STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 03/23/2009


New Linguistics Major Launches
Junior Gabe DiMauro was studying applied linguistics at the Summer Institute for Linguistics when he heard Gordon was launching a new linguistics major. A Kenneth Pike scholar who studied linguistics independently (because a major didn’t exist at Gordon) can now attend classes with other students who are passionate about linguistics. He also studies history, French and a minor in the classics.

The linguistics major teaches students the main pillars of linguistics--syntax, morphology, phonetics, phonology, semantics and pragmatics--and is codirected by Dr. Graeme Bird and Dr. Gregor Thuswaldner in the Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics. These two men are passionate about linguistics and qualified for the job. Bird, who was a teaching fellow in Harvard’s Classics Department, has a Master of Arts in Linguistics from Harvard; Thuswaldner wrote his master’s thesis on German sociolinguistics at the University of Vienna.

Linguistics, which looks at the structure and usage of language, naturally combines with majors in fields such as education, psychology, sociology, English, computer science, philosophy, other languages and biblical studies. “The study of languages and linguistics,” says Bird, “has natural and obvious connections with such diverse fields as biblical exegesis, computer programming and psychology. The range of options students will have in choosing their areas of study will be greatly enhanced.”

The new major reconnects Gordon with the work of Kenneth Pike ’33, a major pioneer in the field of linguistics and one of Gordon’s most famous alumni. Pike is also one of the founders of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize 15 years in a row. Gordon’s new program will have significant links to the program at SIL, allowing students to spend one or more summers studying at SIL and applying credits toward their major.

Students will also have opportunities for co-ops with Transparent, a well-known language software company located in Nashua, New Hampshire. Thuswaldner says, “Working on the development of language learning software will significantly enhance a student’s academic experience at Gordon.”

Languages and Linguistics
Sport Studies


Chester’s Place
Dale and Ann Fowler, friends and generous donors of the College, recently transformed the President’s Dining Room (PDR) into Chester’s Place, a cozy, tavern-like coffee shop and favorite hangout. Over the years students have expressed a need for this kind of space, and, because of the Fowlers’ generosity, students can use Chester’s to eat meals, have coffee, build relationships and study. The Organizational Dining Room (ODR)--next door to Chester’s--was transformed into the Lion’s Den, a conference room for students.

The space has exposed ceiling beams that give it an old tavern feel, a coffee bar in the corner, booths along the sides of the room with electrical and data outlets  at each booth, and tables that fill the main area. Gordon memorabilia hang on the walls, and students also have wireless access. “Chester’s Place offers a hangout space that makes students feel like they are spending time off campus,” says junior Meg Lynch. “This is great because students without cars often don’t get to experience this.”

The design is reminiscent of an 18th-century New England meeting place with wide pine floorboards, a large fireplace, and wood décor throughout. Because Gordon has frequent national and international visitors, the Fowlers wanted campus guests to experience quintessential New England through Chester’s Place. “I really like Chester’s because it provides a comfortable and friendly place for my friends and I to hang out when every other place on campus is closed,” says senior Dustin Foss. “It has a great New England feel to it too--like it’s always been a part of our campus.”

The Lion’s Den has the same cozy feel as the coffee shop, where students can meet, work on projects and study in a quieter setting. This space will be used and managed by the student government (GCSA) and has a large conference table and chairs.

“The student body greatly appreciates the deep investment of time, energy and resources the Fowlers have dedicated to the future of Gordon College and the well-being of its students,” says senior and GCSA Executive President Joe Guidi. “Chester’s Place creates a much-needed student space and will not only add to the aesthetic value of the College but will enrich it through the friendships fostered there.”

Nonprofit Minor

Nonprofit Organization Management and Social Entrepreneurship Minor Offered
Ted Wood and Casey Cooper, economics and business professors, with a team of others, recently launched a new minor in nonprofit organization management and social entrepreneurship. The Center for Nonprofit Organization Studies and Philanthropy, which offers courses unlike others at Christian colleges across the nation, was also established.

The minor is designed to augment students’ majors across disciplines by providing an understanding of the function and management of nonprofits in society. Whether studying youth ministry, social work, recreation or the arts, the new minor will equip students for careers in nonprofits across a broad array of interests.

“Gordon graduates often take jobs with relief organizations, hospitals, museums, community service providers and a host of other nonprofit organizations,” Wood said. “We began to ask, ‘Why wouldn’t Gordon help students better understand the opportunities for administrative ministry within nonprofit organizations?’ Our hope is that participants will be better contributors in their chosen fields and discover that leadership positions within nonprofit organizations present attractive options.”

Joe Krivickas, an entrepreneur with an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, provided generous help for the program’s launch. “Partnering with Gordon allows my family and me to invest in our passion to develop young people into leaders,” Krivickas said. “It’s exciting to be part of a project like this.”

“Individuals often see nonprofits as a place to make contributions through the gifts they develop,” Cooper said. “This program provides the training needed to understand the operational characteristics of organizations that have captured their hearts.”

Mark Sargent Receives Top Chief Academic Officer Award
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) recently named Provost Mark Sargent its 2008 top annual academic officer for assisting new deans and provosts, his research and writing, and his work developing national programs. He recently served a three-year term on the CIC Chief Academic Officers Task Force, chairing the group in his final year.

“Mark Sargent is an incredibly gifted leader,” said President Carlberg, “He’s one of those rare individuals who genuinely makes the community of higher education better for everyone.”

Since 1996 Sargent has not only overseen faculty and academic programs but also given guidance to directors and deans of athletic, student development, ministry and admissions programs at Gordon. Sargent said, “The CIC has helped me see educational trends, global issues and federal mandates through the lenses of our distinctive missions. I come away thinking less about simply producing graduates and more about strategies for awakening the moral imagination of our students.”

Sport: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
Calen Rubin

Valerie Gin, associate professor of recreation and leisure studies, has introduced a sport studies concentration/minor that will give a broad perspective on the interdisciplinary nature of sport. Students will study sport from psychological, sociological, historical and philosophical perspectives, helping prepare them for careers in sport-related fields. The concentration suits students interested in sport and fits particularly well with business, psychology, communications, education and youth ministry majors. Twenty students have already added the new concentration or minor this semester.”


Dr. Graeme Bird with linguistics students
Students in Chesters Place