Saint Mary’s Faculty Weigh In On Important Issues

Haiti

“It’s so clear Haiti needs us the most; we’ve been in other disaster zones before, we’ve been in places of great poverty, but in Haiti, we find there was no structure for anyone to fall back on.”
Communication Professor Shawny Anderson
KGO-TV/ABC-7: May 27, 2011

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

“We are involved in a lose-lose situation and that is probably why President Barack Obama vacillates between an
unattractive policy of withdrawal and the maintenance of an undesirable strategy that has been costly and unsuccessful.”
Politics Professor Steve Sloane
Oakland Tribune Sunday Viewpoint: May 21, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial

“(The Confederacy) had a lot of sympathizers there,” said Guarneri. “They had planned to build a transcontinental railroad through that territory... and they figured that this might be a way for them to move all the way to the West Coast, so the Confederacy would stretch, like the Union, from coast to coast.”
History Professor Carl Gaurneri
KQED-FM News: April 11, 2011

Ecology of Oil

“The relevance of this book for understanding this year’s spill is Dr. Santiago’s definitive analysis of the 1908 Dos Bocas blowout at San Diego de la Mar near Tampico, the worst oil spill and fire in history.”
— The Wall Street Journal on “The Ecology of Oil”
by History Professor Myrna I. Santiago,
October 18, 2010

Spotlight on Saint Mary’s Shines Brighter

Whether it’s being delivered on the airwaves, in column inches or bytes of data, one thing’s for certain: Saint Mary’s is increasingly making its mark in today’s media landscape. During the 2010–11 academic year, the College and its faculty, students and alumni were quoted or discussed in the media on more than 2,000 occasions, and SMC faculty were mentioned in news stories 235 times, up 97% from just two years ago. From stories in some of the nation’s top-tier newspapers — the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times — to mentions on small websites, such as Patch.com and Rugbymag.com, professors, deans and alumni proved to be active thought leaders in the public sphere.

As Saint Mary’s College faculty are increasingly quoted in print and broadcast media as experts on everything from political unrest in Egypt to safe and reliable energy in the United States, School of Liberal Arts Dean Steve Woolpert is standing out as a frequent voice in the external conversation about important local and national issues.

“Academics have a responsibility to contribute to public dialogue and share their expertise as public intellectuals outside their own classrooms,’’ said Woolpert, who started teaching at Saint Mary’s 30 years ago. “It’s always been my sense that it’s not just the role of an academic to discover knowledge but to put that knowledge into practice, to apply it to social problems.”

Beth Dobkin, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the College encourages faculty to participate in interviews and a few years ago its Office of College Communications launched a media training program that covers speaking in front of a camera, making ideas succinct and answering questions on target. “I’d say in the last year Saint Mary’s is breaking out. Instead of being this small pastoral college that nobody knows about, there is a big push to show off what we are doing,’’ she said. “Enough of this hidden gem stuff.”