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reed magazine logoDecember 2010

Eliot Circular Continued

Recognizing Women Faculty

Lisa Steinman Marianne Beth Mary James Eleanore Rowland Jacqueline Dirks Helen Stafford Natalia Aponiuk

Some Notable professors (click to enlarge). Clockwise from top left: Lisa Steinman [English 1976+]; Marianne Beth [sociology 1939–43]; Eleanor Rowland Wembridge [psychology 1911–17]; Jacqueline Dirks '82 [history 1991+]; Natalia Aponiuk [Russian 1967–72]; Helen Stafford [biology 1954–87], Mary James [physics 1988+].

Women faculty gathered at the Parker House on a blustery September morning to celebrate their heritage at Reed. The Sunday brunch was an opportunity for women professors to meet one another and discuss their experiences at the college.

As late arrivals trickled in, a slideshow displayed notable women professors past and present. Highlights from the roster included Eleanor Rowland Wembridge [psychology, 1911–17], who pioneered the first psychological aptitude tests; Marianne Beth [sociology, 1937–1943], a refugee from Nazi Germany who taught an early course on the sociology of women; and Cordelia Dodson [German, 1939–40], who later became a CIA intelligence analyst. Their images flashed across the screen with sparse captions to underscore a point—their impressive feats are largely unknown to the college community.

"While it was radical in 1911 for Reed to welcome both male and female undergraduates, co-education is no longer seen as innovative," said Jacqueline Dirks '82 [history, 1991+], who spoke at the brunch. "That's one reason that the story of women's experience at Reed is often hard to trace. Since Reed had a co-ed student body from the beginning, why then did it take so long to hire a substantial number of permanent female professors? I don't yet have an answer to this puzzle, and I may never find one, but it seems a worthy question to ask."

Some 416 women have taught at Reed since the college was founded, with more than half hired after 1980. Women now represent 40% of the 161 professors currently teaching and occupy many crucial positions, such as dean of faculty Ellen Stauder [English, 1983+].

The brunch helped junior and senior women faculty cultivate new ties and a better sense of Reed's female scholastic tradition. "I think women still need that mentorship and support even though we've made great strides," said brunch organizer Charlene Makley [anthropology, 2000+]. "And I think it happened; I think it was a good experience."

—Brandon Hamilton '10

Will the iPad kill the Textbook–or save it?

Is the longstanding dream of the electronic textbook finally in sight?

Ever since the advent of the personal computer, techno-evangelists have been predicting the demise of the traditional textbook. But despite its well-known shortcomings, the textbook lives on, reminding us of Churchill's observation that democracy is the worst form of government, "except for all those others."

Brandon Hamilton with iPad

Photo by Kevin Myers

Reed is now testing electronic textbooks on the Apple iPad, and the early indications are surprisingly hopeful. As reported by National Public Radio's Lynne Neary in September, students taking POL 240 from Alex Montgomery-Amo [political science, 2006+] generally seem to like the iPad.

"I thought it would just kind of be a fun toy," political science major Michael Crane '11 told NPR. "It still is a fun toy, but it also … makes it really easy to read articles for class. In fact, I read pretty much all my articles for all my classes on this now. The instant boot time I think is really nice because if I have half an hour somewhere, I don't have to set up my laptop to get my articles out."

Students so far appear to find the iPad much more useful than the Kindle, which Reed tested last year, according to chief technology officer Marty Ringle. "People seem to like a multi-use tablet more than a dedicated e-book reader," he says. Reed is conducting a study of student and professor reaction to the iPad, which should be finished by the end of the year. Alumni with questions about the study should contact Ringle at

To hear the NPR report, go to

Nuclear Croquet

ski cabin

photo by chris lydgate

Rivalry. Dominance. Betrayal. Recurring themes both in international politics and, of course, croquet.

In POL 240 (Introduction to International Politics), professor Alex Montgomery-Amo gives students a taste of territorial expansion, temporary alliances of convenience, and operation without a central authority by engaging them in a game of croquet. "Within minutes, a group of generally pacifistic, cooperative Reedies turn into vigorously competing, aggressive countries," he says. "Often they adopt names characteristic of their behavior—North Korea and Iran are very popular. The feedback from this exercise has been overwhelmingly positive; it makes concrete completely abstract theories about the balance of power, hegemonic dominance, and alliance formation."

Here students from POL 240 observe as Sophie Naranjo-Rivera '14 takes a whack at disrupting a shaky alliance between two rival teams. (Professor Montgomery-Amo is holding the clipboard.)

—Anna Mann

Druker wins Vollum Award

ski cabin

photo by eric cable

Reed's 2010 Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology was awarded to Dr. Brian Druker, inventor of Gleevec. The Vollum Award goes to an innovator in the scientific and technical community of the Pacific Northwest.

Druker, Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, revolutionized cancer treatment with the development of Gleevec. This drug treats chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and other neoplasms by targeting malignant cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

"The way I'd been trained, cancer was seen as something like a light switch that was stuck in an 'on' position," Druker said last year. "You were given a baseball bat, which was chemotherapy, and told to knock the light out with the bat. I thought, 'Why don't we just try to figure out why the light is stuck on, then we can fix it without breaking everything.'"

—Matt Kelly

reed magazine logoDecember 2010