Dr. Glenn Sharfman named Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oglethorpe University

Glenn Sharfman 2s(ATLANTA, GA) – Following a nationwide search, Oglethorpe University has selected Dr. Glenn Sharfman as its new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Sharfman comes to Oglethorpe from Manchester University (North Manchester, Ind.), where he has been Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of History since 2005.

As the chief academic officer of Oglethorpe University, Dr. Sharfman will oversee all academic affairs, including the academic divisions, the core curriculum, the Academic Success Center, Philip Weltner Library, the Office of the Registrar, and the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. He will assume his new position at Oglethorpe on July 8, 2014.

“I am excited to join the community at Oglethorpe and work with a talented and dedicated faculty and staff who help transform students so they are ready for their next step,” said Dr. Sharfman. “Oglethorpe has a rich tradition and distinguished record of producing graduates who make a difference and I am eager to play a role.”

Dr. Sharfman earned a Bachelor of Arts at Miami University (Oxford, OH) and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in European History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at Manchester University, he successfully led efforts to restructure the core curriculum, expand academic programs, open a new Academic Center, launch a College of Pharmacy, and open a new satellite campus. Prior to Manchester, Dr. Sharfman worked at Hiram College (Hiram, Ohio) for 15 years, as a faculty member in the history department and then as Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Programs.

“Dr. Sharfman is an accomplished scholar and an extraordinary addition to our leadership team,” said Oglethorpe University President Larry Schall. “His expertise, creativity and passion for the liberal arts and sciences will be integral in ensuring Oglethorpe continues building upon its long history of academic excellence.”

Oglethorpe University has entered an era of innovation, reinvigoration, and growth with the opening of the $16M Turner Lynch Campus Center in 2013 and the launch of a $50M comprehensive campaign. Founded in 1835, Oglethorpe is Atlanta’s leading liberal arts and sciences university of 1100 students representing 34 states and 28 countries. In fall 2013, Oglethorpe opened the A_LAB (Atlanta Laboratory for Learning), an incubator for students’ real-world experiential learning through civic engagement, global education, professional development, and undergraduate research. Oglethorpe is the only university in Georgia to be named for seven consecutive years to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for commitment to and achievement in community service. In 2012, Oglethorpe launched two strategic partnerships with study abroad provider Global LEAD and EF (Education First), the world leader in international education. EF’s Atlanta headquarters is located on Oglethorpe’s campus, which is also home to the OU Museum of Art and Georgia Shakespeare, a professional theatre-in-residence. Renowned for its groundbreaking core program, Oglethorpe is a member of the Annapolis Group, comprised of America’s most selective liberal arts institutions, and has been named among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges, Forbes’ America’s Best Colleges, and Princeton Review’s Best Southeastern Colleges. The Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels compete in the NCAA Division III Southern Athletic Association.

For more information, contact: Renee Vary, 404-364-8868 or rvary@oglethorpe.edu

Sophomore’s Photography Exhibit First Step in Dream Career

Shannon at her exhibitionIn fall 2013, I was lucky to have my photography exhibited at Land of A Thousand Hills coffee shop in Roswell, Ga.

I got the opportunity by emailing them a few samples of my work, and they loved them! My photos were exhibited the next month and the opening night was one of the proudest moments of my life. The work I displayed was mostly nature shots, but I had a few portraits and photos from France and downtown Savannah as well.

Having my work in a coffee shop gallery taught me more than you might think. It taught me to take both criticism and praise, and it also helped me understand what my Oglethorpe photography professor meant by teaching us to arrange photos in a pleasing and easy to understand order. What I learned in my Compositions in Photography and Introduction to Digital Photography classes with Professor Sigrira Perret-Gentil helped me choose and create the most technically correct, universally appealing, and yet personally striking and meaningful photographs.

Adirondack On The Quad

Adirondack On The Quad

Even though most of my background is in nature photography and working with posed subjects, my dream is to be a photojournalist and capture real-life situations that cannot be re-created in a studio. I want my pictures to tell a true story. And I want those stories to challenge the ways people think about my subjects. Ultimately, I want to be a photojournalist for a non-profit that works for animal welfare.

My internship with Pegasus Creative in the Spring 2014 semester is teaching me to take pictures in the moment that will preserve those moments forever in Oglethorpe’s history, and to express myself in a visual way through photo essays— something that I could not have done before.

OU Theatre Presents “By the Bog of Cats”

Oglethorpe Theatre will present “By the Bog of Cats”, an Irish retelling of the Greek Tragedy “Medea”, on November 21-23, 2013 at 8 p.m. in the Conant Performing Arts Center. Watch this video to find out more and to check out student cast members’ Irish accents!

OU Student, Aspiring Ambassador Invited to Speak to Atlanta International Students

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Anwaar Abu Shugair ’16

Every year the Atlanta Ministry for International Students hosts a welcome reception for international students who are studying in Atlanta. This fall’s 36th annual reception was held at Spelman College and Oglethorpe’s own Anwaar Abu Shugair ’16, a native of Jordan, was invited to address the hundreds of students who are making Atlanta universities their temporary homes this year.

The reception is open to all international students in Atlanta, making it a massive gathering of cultures where everyone can mingle, eat international foods, enjoy a performance by the Atlanta Opera, and meet “amigo families”—American families who open their homes to international students during the holidays. Anwaar was a part of the delegation welcoming the students to the U.S. and Atlanta.

amisEstablished in 1978 by local churches and the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, AMIS was created to encourage connections between Atlanta natives and international students to make their stay as comfortable and memorable as possible. Anwaar, who was a part of the program as a new international student last year, says that it had helped her to integrate into the American culture, which is drastically different from her own, she says. Anwaar especially enjoyed “getting to eat the turkey and pies on Thanksgiving” surrounded by new friends. As a result, she found it easy to feel comfortable in America and she quickly settled in and made a home of Atlanta and Oglethorpe.

Anwaar knew Oglethorpe would be the right place for her ever since she first started reviewing her options for universities with her school advisor in Jordan. Her high school, King’s Academy, promoted mastery of both English and Arabic, global citizenship, and boasts a world class liberal arts curriculum. This perfectly prepared her for an institution like Oglethorpe, which is rich in cultural life and the liberal arts. The size and the ratio of students to faculty here ensured her that she would not feel overwhelmed by being suddenly surrounded by thousands of students in a new country, and the curriculum was perfect for her career aspirations.

Anwaar is double majoring in Politics and Economics, and hopes to earn a master’s degree in the U.S. before returning to Jordan to possibly complete a PhD program there. One day she would like to be a diplomat, perhaps even the Jordanian ambassador to the U.S. She is already accumulating ambassadorial experience here at Oglethorpe through working in the Office of Admission and in the Academic Success Center as a tutor.

OU Professors Talk Aliens with History Channel

It was an unusual assignment.

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The 1954 sci-fi movie “Target Earth” featured an alien invasion by giant robots.

Oglethorpe’s Dr. John Orme, professor of politics and division chair, and Dr. John Cramer, professor of physics, recently appeared in the H2 channel’s series Target Earth. The show explores topics such as infrastructure, natural resources, and engineering, but with a sci-fi twist: how would aliens view our planet if they were targeting Earth for a takeover?

This 173rd episode in the series, likely named for the 1954 science fiction movie, Target Earth, hypothesizes about what would happen during an alien invasion.

Although the documentary itself seems a bit far-fetched and funny at times, the issues addressed are serious: What would the consequences of an (alien) invasion or biological weapon? What would we do in the event of a world wide black out? What if water sources were attacked? How does nature affect our lives? Ultimately, Dr. Cramer and Dr. Orme offered answers that reflect possible outcomes in the event of any disaster—not simply an alien invasion.

So, why are our professors considered to be experts on alien invasions?

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Dr. Cramer, pictured at the annual Space on the Green, Oglethorpe’s celebration of science.

Dr. Cramer is the author of How Alien Would Aliens Be?, which takes a scientific approach to the potential existence and appearance of extra-terrestrials. His book surmises that since both humans and aliens would be subject to similar physical constraints (vision, hearing, environment), it’s likely that aliens would not be so physically different from us —if they exist. Similarly, Dr. Orme was tapped for his expertise based on his book The Paradox of Peace, which “examines the foundations of peace by using diverse case studies to look at the calculations of political leaders and their reliance on optimism.”

Dr. Orme teaching a politics class in his fabled favorite classroom, simply for the  chalk board.

Dr. John Orme in the classroom.

In the event of an alien invasion, both cite water resources as pivotal. Dr. Cramer believes that water resources would be targeted during an invasion. Dr. Orme suggests that humans’ experience and reaction in natural disasters would likely be repeated in the event of an invasion. For instance, an attack on freshwater sources would elicit similar chaotic responses; water would become worth stealing  and protecting. Patience would wear thin and violence would erupt.

So, while the show itself seemed a bit campy at times, our professors’ professional opinions were credible and based in reality. Plus, it’s pretty cool that our professors were interviewed about aliens.

To watch the documentary, search your TV listings, or purchase the episode and watch it on demand.