Celebration of Life for Trisha Hurst

I am writing today to share with you an invitation from Jason Connell, who has asked that I share this with students, staff and faculty:

We would like for you to join us in a Celebration of Life for Trisha Hurst on
Saturday, May 12, 4:30pm to 6:30pm, at Knox College Alumni Hall, Trustee Room.

If you’d like to offer something, Trisha valued live plants over cut flowers or a donation to Knox County Relay for Life http://www.relayforlife.org/knoxil or your favorite charity would also be appreciated.

This is a casual event. Please come, share your pictures, experiences and stories.

Healing through laughter and tears.

Teresa

Update on Recent Events

Dear Knox Community,

Over the last two weeks, our community has grappled with serious and difficult issues regarding discrimination, freedom of speech, and identity. While tensions surrounding these matters are always present in a diverse community dedicated to discussion and learning, the most recent issues came to light when a student submitted a bias incident report regarding a series of tweets by a faculty member on his private Twitter page that the student and members of the campus Hillel chapter viewed as anti-Semitic. The College has an obligation and a commitment to respond to all reports of bias and discrimination, so our bias incident team initiated an assessment of the situation, which is ongoing. An email exchange among faculty about the content and intent of the tweets followed on the College faculty and staff listserv. Several days later, on April 18, a Jewish faculty member received an anonymous letter containing vulgar and anti-Semitic content. The bias incident team immediately initiated an additional investigation into this hateful act, which is also in process.

Our most pressing concern at this time is supporting and protecting students and faculty who feel targeted by the anonymous hate mail and by the tweets and email exchanges. The anonymous action is clearly reprehensible, harmful to the individual, and an affront to our values. With regard to the tweets, it is not the College’s practice to follow the personal social media accounts of its faculty or staff members. As an academic institution, we must maintain an unwavering allegiance to the constitutional rights of members of our community, particularly the freedom of speech that is essential for unfettered academic inquiry. Nonetheless, the section on Academic Freedom in the College’s Faculty Handbook notes the special obligations incumbent upon members of the faculty even when speaking as individuals: “to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to show respect for the opinions of others, and to make every effort to indicate that the individual is not speaking for the College.”

Within the context of protecting academic freedom, however, the College does have an obligation to and a process for investigating allegations of bias incidents reported to us and addressing the extent to which a hostile environment or violation of our policy has occurred. Many members of our community have personal views on the content of the tweets, but the College follows procedural standards in determining whether a violation of our anti-bias policy has occurred. Those standards accord rights and protections to all individuals who are the subject of investigations, and we will scrupulously observe those protections. To that end, the College does not publicly comment on the details of bias investigations while they are in progress. While that process works toward a resolution, the safety of our students, faculty and staff is the College’s top priority, especially in terms of their experiences on campus and their ability to teach and learn in a environment free from bias, harassment or discrimination.

Throughout this time, members of our faculty and staff have spent many hours with the affected students and faculty, listening and providing support as they work to comprehend and respond to the situation. As we have witnessed throughout Knox’s long history, our students have come together to turn seemingly divisive language into an opportunity for understanding and a greater sense of inclusivity on our campus. The Student Senate invited Hillel to discuss the situation at a recent Senate meeting, and students of many racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds have expressed their support for their fellow students. Hillel is currently in the process of planning a dialogue to discuss how to confront and combat hate, and the Student Senate is encouraging our campus to come together in support of such community-building events. The College will do all that it can to support our students in their efforts to move beyond forums such as Twitter and email that do not allow for nuanced dialogue and to promote open, respectful, and meaningful discussions.

Campuses and communities across the nation have witnessed bias incidents and experienced a breakdown of dialogue and communication in recent years. The FBI has reported that nearly all classes of hate crimes have increased since 2016, including crimes against Jews, Muslims, African Americans, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants. Sadly, hate crimes in schools, colleges and universities are rising as well. While we recognize that these crimes are significantly underreported, even one hate crime is too many. Hate has no home at Knox College. In this environment, we are all called to stand up for our values, to reject hateful speech and actions, and to affirm our support for those targeted by hate as we work to build an inclusive and respectful campus in which to live and learn.

Sincerely,

Teresa

Innovate Knox Initiative Update

Dear Knox Community,

Earlier this year, we asked you to share with us your ideas on ways to improve Knox. We called this initiative Innovate Knox. We received numerous submissions and have selected four proposals. As stated in the submission guidelines, preference was given to initiatives that will lead to revenue enhancement, improve efficiency and productivity, and/or lead to significant cost savings. Funding for the Innovate Knox initiative was provided by a one-time $100,000 endowment draw authorized by the Knox College Board of Trustees.

We received 12 proposals from members of the Knox community, ranging from ideas on how to improve operational efficiency to new areas of potential growth in our admission efforts. Throughout February and March, we reviewed the proposals, sought additional information when needed, and reviewed them once again, ultimately choosing to move forward with four:

Energy Audit—Knox has had two energy audits in the past 20 years, with the most recent in 2006. Suggestions from those audits have been implemented on campus resulting in successful reductions in energy costs, but updates in energy-efficient technologies and the effects of time on our buildings mean that an updated energy audit could lead to new opportunities for energy cost savings.

Knox GROW—a program to engage the more than 100 hourly and salaried supervisory staff and their roughly 600 student workers in ongoing dialogues designed to identify and reinforce transferable skills learned by students on the job. Its intent is to promote job productivity and satisfaction for both Knox staff and students. Planned implementation of the program will begin with the Seymour Library staff.

Human Resources Software—this is a cloud-based software system that will help streamline a host of record-keeping processes within Human Resources, including applicant tracking, time-off requests and tracking, electronic signatures and document completion and storage, employee onboarding, workflows, and performance management (future), saving the College both time and money.

International Recruitment—the College currently has one full‐time admission counselor to work with more than 600 international applicants each year (up from 250 applicants 10 years ago). By adding an additional international admission officer, we will be able to more fully realize the potential of the international market, especially in growing areas like China and Southeast Asia, with the goal of enrolling 5-10 more students each year.

While there are four proposals that will be funded, we are exploring the implementation of some of the other proposals through other avenues. We will keep you informed on the development and progress of the four proposals that received funding.

Thanks to all who submitted proposals. The imagination, creativity, and ingenuity of the Knox community never fails to inspire us.

Sincerely,

Senior Staff

2018 Physics Prize Problem is out!

The 2018 Physics Prize Problem is out! The Porter Prize is funded by Carroll Porter ’32, and is awarded annually for the best solution to a complex physical problem. This year’s mind-boggling physics problem concerns a planetary interloper scattering from an originally stable solar system. Check out a detailed statement of the problem, posted around SMC or available at http://course.knox.edu/physics130. Any Knox student may submit a solution. Turn in your solution to Prof. Tom Moses, D110 SMC, by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1 and win a place in Knox history (and a cash prize).

Davenport Poetry Prize Submissions Due April 24

DAVENPORT POETRY PRIZE
DEADLINE: Tuesday, April 24 at 4 p.m.

SUBMISSION CRITERIA:
1) entrants must be in “good standing” but need not be English majors or enrolled in an English course; students who completed coursework on campus during the 2017-18 school year, but have not yet commenced and are not currently enrolled are eligible to submit, provided they will be commencing from Knox in June;

2) manuscripts should include three poems; only one manuscript submission per student is allowed (our judge reserves the right to select prize winners based on a single poem or on the manuscript as a whole);

3) submitted poems need not be written especially for the contest, but poems cannot have been previously published off-campus (note that publication on-campus does not exclude a poem from entry); no poem that has received a prize in a Knox contest may be submitted to any subsequent contest, although a rejected manuscript may be submitted a second time;

4) your submission must include a title page or cover sheet with the author’s name, complete contact information, and the title of each poem; please leave name off subsequent pages;

5) only original work by the contestant may be entered (translations are not eligible);

6) all entries must be submitted in hardcopy to Monica Berlin’s office (Old Main 302) no later than Tuesday, April 24 by 4 p.m. If you have questions about the submission guidelines, contact mberlin@knox.edu.

Select submissions will also be considered for the Audrey Collet-Conard Prize in Poetry.

Cash prizes are determined by the English Department, in consultation with the judge’s recommendations for awards. As well, the prize-winning manuscripts each year will be retained by the College and may be published on the English Department’s website.

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This year’s judges are JoAnna Novak and Thomas Cook—and yes, they are both poets, fiction writers, essayists, critics and publishers. For more details, click here. Prizewinner will be announced at Novak’s and Cook’s Caxton reading (with Eileen G’Sell) on Friday, May 11 at 4 p.m.

Please direct questions to Monica Berlin (mberlin@knox.edu).

Announcing the Davenport Prize in Fiction

DAVENPORT FICTION PRIZE
DEADLINE: Tuesday, April 24 at 4 p.m.

SUBMISSION CRITERIA:
1) entrants must be in “good standing” but need not be English majors or enrolled in an English course; students who completed coursework on campus during the 2017-18 school year, but have not yet commenced and are not currently enrolled are eligible to submit, provided they will be commencing from Knox in June;

2) only one story per author is allowed;

3) submitted stories need not be written especially for the contest, but cannot have been previously published off campus (note that publication on-campus does not exclude a story from entry); no story that has received a prize in a Knox contest may be submitted to any subsequent contest, although a rejected manuscript may be submitted a second time; any story currently under review for another prize may be submitted;

4) each submission must include a title page or cover sheet with the author’s name and complete contact information, as well as the title of the story; please leave name off subsequent pages;

5) each submission should be double-spaced and paginated;

6) each submitted manuscript is limited to 10,000 words;

7) only original work by the contestant may be entered (translations are not eligible);

8) all entries must be submitted in hardcopy to Monica Berlin’s office (Old Main 302) no later than Tuesday, April 24 by 4 p.m. If you have questions about the submission guidelines, contact mberlin@knox.edu.

Submissions by graduating seniors will also be considered for the Proctor Fenn Sherwin Prize.

Cash prizes are determined by the English Department, in consultation with the judge’s recommendations for awards. As well, the prize-winning manuscripts each year will be retained by the college and may be published on the English Department’s website.

English Department accepting submissions for Howard A. Wilson Prize and Lorraine Smith Prize

HOWARD A. WILSON PRIZE ENTRIES
DEADLINE: Tuesday, April 24 at 4 p.m.

The Howard A. Wilson Prize is awarded annually to students writing the best essays in literary criticism during an academic year. There are cash prizes for first, second and third place. This year’s finalists will be judged by Eileen G’Sell, critic and writer. Entries for the Wilson prize in English should be submitted in hard copy to Professor Monica Berlin, Old Main 302, by Tuesday, April 24, 2018 AT 4 p.m. Please specify “Howard A. Wilson Submission” or “Eligible for Both Prizes” on your title page, wherein you include your name and contact information.

[Note: Entrants must be in “good standing” but need not be English majors or enrolled in an English course; students who completed coursework on campus during the 2017-18 school year, but have not yet commenced and are not currently enrolled are eligible to submit, provided they will be commencing from Knox in June.]

LORRAINE SMITH PRIZE ENTRIES
DEADLINE: Tuesday, April 24 at 4 p.m.

The Lorraine Smith prize in English is awarded annually to the second year student writing the best essay in an English course. Prize given in books. Entries for the Lorraine Smith prize in English should be submitted in hard copy to Professor Monica Berlin, Old Main 302, by Tuesday, April 24, 2018 AT 4 p.m. Please specify “Lorraine Smith Submission” or “Eligible for Both Prizes” on your title page, wherein you include your name and contact information. Judging is by the English Department faculty.

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Prizewinners will be announced at G’Sell’s Caxton reading (with JoAnna Novak and Thomas Cook) on May 11 at 4 p.m. For more details, click here.

Please direct questions to Monica Berlin (mberlin@knox.edu).

Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

Dear Knox Community,

It is my privilege today to announce this year’s honorary degree recipients, who will receive their degrees at the College’s Commencement exercises on June 3. In addition to our Commencement speaker Knox alumnus and India’s premier comedian Vir Das, Knox will confer honorary degrees on Mary Meg McCarthy, the executive director of Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center, and Michael W. Young, American geneticist and 2017 Nobel Prize Winner. You can read more about all three distinguished recipients on the Knox website.

Please join me in thanking the Honorary Degree Subcommittee for their work selecting this year’s degree recipients.

Best,

Teresa

Dining Services Announcement

Dear Knox Community,

We’d like to share some news about staffing changes that Dining Services will experience as classes resume for spring term.

After recent consultation with the College regarding dining at Knox, Bon Appétit will be realigning the management team and will bring in additional oversight from within the region to assist the account in this transition and to help conduct a nationwide search for a new general manager. In addition, Bon Appétit’s senior leadership intends to invite Knox students, faculty, and staff to a series of listening sessions and focus groups this spring in order to better understand the needs of the campus community. Bon Appétit very much values the open dialogue with the Knox community and the opportunity to address the feedback the team has received.

More information will be shared in the coming weeks as plans are solidified, and we encourage your participation in the upcoming focus groups.

Sincerely,

Teresa and Keith

Free Day & Night at Peoria Riverfront Museum, March 28

On Wednesday, March 28, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Peoria Riverfront Museum will host, with WGIL radio station, a free day at Riverfront Museum (222 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL) for all Galesburg/Knox County residents and all Knox College students, faculty and staff.

Mayor John Pritchard will be on hand to celebrate the Illinois bicentennial – especially items from Knox College, Seymour Library, Knox archives, the Freedom Center and the Galesburg area (Carl Sandburg home). These objects were all key to telling the important stories of the writers, artists, achievers and activists from our area.

The “Celebrate Illinois: 200 Years in the Land of Lincoln” exhibition remains the most comprehensive exhibit on the Illinois bicentennial, and was curated in-house by the museum curatorial staff – with excellent and much appreciated support from Owen Muelder, Knox and Seymour Library/archives staff.

Schedule of events: https://www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org/posts/1152