By CCW Staff  /  
2016 September 20 - 07:06 am

Faculty Lounge

A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation

Raritan Valley Community College’s (N.J.) Visual and Performing Arts Department will present the Art Faculty Exhibition, in the Art Gallery at the College’s Branchburg Campus. The show is being coordinated by RVCC Art Gallery coordinator and VAPA faculty member Darren McManus. The exhibition will feature work by RVCC art faculty members representing a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, video, graphic design, digital media, interior design and photography. Work by the following faculty members will be on display: Eric Araujo, Robert Di Matteo, Colin Edgington, Andrea Freiwald, Barbara Friedman, Lydia Grey, John Harford, Ji Yong Kim, Christopher Brand Koep, William Macholdt, Jeff Mason, J.D. McGuire, Darren McManus, Dot Paolo, John Reinking, Jonathan Ricci, Sarah Roche, Keary Rosen, Kathleen Schulz, Wes Sherman, Val Sivilli, Virginia Smith, Donna Stackhouse and Ann Tsubota.

For obvious reasons, historians rarely find themselves at the center of the events they examine. So you can only imagine the sense of gravity Bianka Stumpf felt as she studied at the European Union while the United Kingdom voted to secede. Britain’s referendum to exit the 28-nation European Union — or “Brexit as it’s known in journalistic shorthand — took place just weeks ago, in late June, but is already one of the notable historical events of our time. The 52- to 48-percent vote to leave the union immediately shook world economic markets and threatened political relationships throughout Europe and across the Atlantic. And Stumpf, a world history instructor at Central Carolina Community College, (N.C.) was there. Not merely in Brussels, home of the European Union, but studying at the economic and political organization created to foster cooperation throughout Europe. She was participating in a weeklong summer study tour designed to help American teachers and their students understand how the European Union operates and interacts with the United States and other nations around the globe. She literally saw history unfold before her eyes. During the day, Stumpf was one of a dozen teachers ushered through the European Parliament, Council and Commission, the partnership’s three main institutions. In the European Council chamber, she sat at the desk of Slovenia Prime Minister Miro Cerar, adjacent to the space used by former United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, who resigned from office immediately after the fateful Brexit vote. The small group met with scholars, agency directors and diplomats, who provided perspectives on European policy and answered plenty of questions about what might unfold during the historic vote just across the English Channel. In the evenings she huddled with colleagues — teachers specializing in anthropology, language, political science and more — to figure out how they could share their new insight with students studying Europe and contemporary issues. Stumpf arrived in Belgium with a particular interest in the European refugee crisis and how member nations were struggling to absorb well over 1 million people fleeing persecution, war and poverty in nearby regions. Before the Brexit vote most thought it would be close, but Britain would stay. That’s not what happened. “The day after, people were really shocked,” Stumpf recalls. “We went to Bruegel, a think tank that collaborates with the EU, and the people making our presentation couldn’t believe what happened. They knew right away their agenda had shifted dramatically.” Brexit wasn’t her only brush with recent history. During her week in Belgium, Stumpf retreated every evening to Martin’s Brussels EU Hotel. To get around town, she walked a few blocks down Boulevard Charlemagne and around the corner to catch a train at the Maelbeek metro station — the same station where the Islamic State launched a terrorist attack in March. Makeshift memorials, Stumpf said, were slowly fading, but still remained. And then there was her journey to Paris just before traveling on to Brussels. The history teacher managed to arrive during Euro 2016, the European soccer championships that captivated much of the world, and found lodging near Place de la République — site of another terror attack, where about 130 people were killed last November. “In locations like these, you can just feel what it means for terror and anxiety to exist in places we all should be able to enjoy freely,” she says. “But people still open their business doors, and people still use the subway station. People persist.”

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