Celebrating 25 years of Kaleidoscope


By day, Bruce Cable is a Greenville County Schools challenge teacher, serving three elementary schools. By night, he teaches yoga at the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on State Park Road. And during the summer, Cable leads Furman’s Kaleidoscope program, the summer educational day camp he founded for elementary school children. Kaleidoscope, which provides classroom education as well as recreational learning experiences, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer. Cable said it’s extremely rewarding to be a teacher, especially when you can make learning fun. “I kind of joke about them learning without knowing it,” he said.  “We kind of sneak that in.” Read more in The Greenville News.

Education by design

Furman Design Your Own MajorFurman offers more than 40 majors, which may sound like a lot—especially if your graduation year begins with a 19. But in an ever-more-complex world, they barely scratch the surface of possible futures for a college freshman in 2015.

There are nearly 1,500 academic programs available to undergraduates, and while places like the University of Michigan and Arizona State University have gone on the offensive by rolling out more than 250 areas of study that isn’t an option for a small, liberal arts school. Being a nimble problem-solver is, however, and Furman’s Individualized Curriculum Program (ICP) is a quintessential liberal arts solution.

ICP allows students to design their own major if their educational goals “cannot be met by existing majors or interdisciplinary minors.” Such was the dilemma faced by Hope Ogunsile ’16 when she realized Furman’s film studies minor wasn’t going to cut it.

“I knew I wanted to go into film before I came to Furman,” the Mauldin, S.C., native said. “I figured I would study business and take that where it would go, but I didn’t like it. It wasn’t enough. So I ended up just making my own major.”

Ogunsile’s “end-all, be-all, biggest dream” is to be a film producer, but to do that she needs to be educated in all aspects of film making—from writing to directing to acting—as well as all aspects of film marketing. So Ogunsile created something now called film and media studies, which features a curriculum that sees her “taking courses in every department except the science building.”

“It’s not really a major that is found at other schools, mainly because most schools, even though they try, they don’t take in the sense of media studies or they don’t take in the film aspect and the business aspect as well,” she said. “So a lot of time individuals end up one-sided.”

Other current ICP majors include sustainable development and social change; marketing design; health journalism; philosophy, politics, and economics; and global health. Alice Williams ’15 says the work required to create her global health major—which included coming up with a complete list of required courses and electives, writing a comprehensive essay explaining the need for her major, meeting with the head of every department involved, and presenting her case to the ICP committee—was daunting but worth it.

“The ICP major gave me the freedom to pick and choose classes that were specifically relevant to what I wanted to do and also gave me the flexibility to study abroad and also major in Asian Studies,” she said. “I could have taken the same classes when I was just an Asian Studies major, but having the global health degree shows specifically to employers and grad schools what I’m interested in. I think it is an under-utilized program, partially because it’s not that well known and partially because it’s a lot of work. It was like having an extra class the semester I was working on it.”

Renee Chosed, Ph.D., a biology professor, served as the ICP committee chair in 2014-15. Also Williams’s advisor, Chosed says the program is a great option for students to have, though many discover it’s not an easy path to go down.

Furman Design Your Own Major

ICP allows students to design their own major if their educational goals “cannot be met by existing majors or interdisciplinary minors.”

“When freshmen come here they are just super excited they could create their own major and do whatever they want, and then they learn a little more about the process and realize it’s not for everyone,” she said. “It’s for super high-achieving students . . . There are lots of students who start the process and don’t finish the process.”

According to Marianne Pierce, Ph.D., Furman’s senior associate academic dean, ICP has been in existence since at least the early 1970s. Students can’t declare an ICP major until after their freshman year, and fields of study are not limitless—only classes in which Furman has accredited instructors can be offered, which eliminates things like architecture.

“That’s what a liberal arts education is all about,” she said. “You’re not being trained in a narrow discipline. Your major doesn’t determine your career. It doesn’t limit your career, and we don’t want the ICP to be a limiting career-focused thing either.”

ICP has helped Furman serve its students better, however. Because of multiple ICPs, the school created communications and neuroscience majors and may soon add global health, according to Chosed.

“The ICP program in general embodies liberal arts and engaged learning,” Williams, who recently accepted an invitation to join the Peace Corps after graduation, said. “I’ve had the luxury of a Furman education. Hopefully the ICP program will help me find a way to give back.

A conversation with her freshman advisor alerted Ogunsile to ICP, and she got almost everything she wanted. Almost.

“The only problem I think they had at the end of the discussion was they didn’t like the name, because I wanted to go with film and business. But obviously it’s film and media studies,” she said. “And I don’t mind.”

The price of preservation


When your classroom is a beach, taking a course in the summer becomes significantly more enticing. But the seven Furman students who took the Ecological Economics May Experience (May X) class weren’t there for surfing lessons.

John Quinn, Ph.D. (biology) and Melanie Cozad, Ph.D. (economics) led the class which included a three-day trip to the South Carolina coast where students surveyed residents and tourists at Folly Beach to see how much they would be willing to spend to add 20 feet of sand to the shoreline. They also toured the natural ecosystem of Bull’s Island and extrapolated their results to Sullivans Island. Closer to home, they visited the Blue Wall area of Greenville County and used prior research to determine how much people would be willing to spend to increase the 7 percent of the county’s protected forestlands by another 5 percent.beachsm1

“We were interested in helping the students understand how nature is valued and the benefits that nature provides, such as pollination of crops, food production, climate change mitigation, and recreation,” said Dr. Quinn. “We wanted to see how much people are willing to pay for change.”

He said the class struggled with the gray areas when looking at the value of natural resources, an important lesson for their future careers. They realized they didn’t have enough information to make some decisions that need to be made about the benefits and costs of certain actions that impact the state’s natural resources.

The students presented their findings on posters at FurmanEngaged! and in discussions with other students, Furman faculty, government officials, and representatives of the Nature Conservancy. They also wrote letters outlining their research and conclusions to the editors of newspapers and government officials and wrote op-ed pieces for newspapers.

Sustainability science and health sciences major Hagan Capnerhurst ’17 wrote the mayor of Folly Beach about the erosion of marshland that is home to the endangered least terns and piping plovers.

Explaining the research, biology major Trey Bergsma ’17 said, “We ran a cost-benefit analysis to find out if it would be profitable to expand the shoreline by 20 feet.”

The students determined that coastal users would be willing to pay $6.17 million to expand nearly 348 feet of shoreline by adding 20 more feet of sand, he said. “Moving sand is a difficult process.”

Students concluded that expanding the shoreline would make sense if done over time.

“It is doable. It will take some time. We have to be careful when we do it, “said Jose Bailey ’17, a political science and urban studies major.

And in Greenville County, students learned that there are 35,000 acres of protected forest which make up 7 percent of the county’s land. “We have lost a lot of forest cover since 1993,” said Bailey.

To increase protected forests by 1,750 acres would take about 5.29 years and cost about $35 million.

But students looked only at purchasing land for protected forests because the use of conservation easements, which also protect land, is more nebulous and difficult to put a monetary value on.

Expanding either the sand on the shore or forestland has costs as well as benefits, the students discovered.beachsm

Expanding the shoreline could cause shallow-water reefs to be hurt, storm damage to increase, native habitat to be degraded, and wildlife and invertebrate to be affected negatively.

“There are lots of reefs out in the ocean,” Bergsma said, “IF you take the sand, you’re losing the reef. The property values will go up, but the value of life will go down. And expanding forestlands could cause a loss in logging profits, dampen fire mitigation, and worsen drought conditions, but the consequences of both types of expansion would outweigh the benefits.”

“Coastal ecosystems are globally the most valuable,” Quinn said. But “without either one—the coast or the forests, we’re lost.”

This May X course provided students with two sets of tools, ecological and economic. They learned to work across disciplines, design a novel research question, and communicate their findings to a broad audience.

“I learned to translate the value of what I wanted to do to a dollar value. I had never done anything like this before,” said Bergsma.

“I think it teaches them how to take what they’re good at and have meaningful discussions with people outside their disciplines,” Cozad said. “Students were able to see where their disciplines fit into the real world.”

Also, the students learned that interdisciplinary projects help present actions they may want to take, Quinn said. An economist and an ecologist could look at the same project and come up with different values. But if they work together, they can present it from both viewpoints and give it relevance to a great number of stakeholders.


Learn more about Furman’s May Experience program.



Furman earns place on President’s honor roll

HonorRoll-Logo-2014-webFurman University has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes institutions of higher education that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships.

The Corporation for National & Community Service has administered the award since 2006, and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the part colleges and universities play in solving community challenges, with the mission of encouraging students to pursue a lifelong path of civic engagement.

The General Community Service category recognizes institutions that have made a commitment to improving the quality of life of off-campus community residents, particularly low-income individuals. Contributing 12,000 service hours, Furman was honored in this category for its work in a range of organizations addressing wellness, recreation, special needs, and sustainability, among other concerns.

Honorees are chosen based on a series of factors including the scope and innovation of service projects and measurable community outcomes. Says Nancy Cooper, volunteer services coordinator for Heller Service Corps, “We are honored to receive this prestigious award. It speaks to the dedication and commitment to service among our student body. Furman has a long history of service learning and believes strongly in preparing our graduates to be active leaders and participants in their communities.”

For more information contact Nancy Cooper at (864) 294-2900, or nancy.cooper@furman.edu. More information about Heller Service Corps may be found at www.hellerservicecorps.org. The full list of Honor Roll members may be found at this link.


Area teens named Emerging Public Leaders

Riley@FurmanLogo_Medium_CMYKUThe Riley Institute at Furman University has announced its 2015-16 class of Emerging Public Leaders (EPL). Launched in 2002 by the Riley Institute, Emerging Public Leaders is an intensive, statewide service-oriented leadership program for rising high school seniors.

Now in its 14th year, EPL has accepted 16 rising high school seniors from across South Carolina, bringing the total number of students who have participated in the program to 185.

The 2015-16 Riley Institute Emerging Public Leaders are:

Kaitlyn Sain
Clover High School

Tori Jabber
Irmo High School

Khalil Gamble (of Moore, S.C.)
Byrnes High School

Kehler Bryant
Blue Ridge High School

Rhett Baker
St. Joseph’s High School

Mira Carroll
Southside High School

Emma Gross
St. Joseph’s High School

Andrew James
Greenville High School

Elizabeth Marron
Greenville High School

Alexis Wright
Greenville High School

Celine Crum
Mauldin High School

Drew Davis
Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School

Jeremiah Drummond
Dorman High School

Desmond Brown
Scott’s Branch High School

Brianna Brunson
Scott’s Branch High School

AJ Alford
Fort Dorchester High School

Accepted students will convene for a week on the Furman University campus where they will investigate topics such as engaging in the community, analyzing critical issues, practicing ethical leadership, developing communication and presentation skills, and planning for the implementation of a service project.

Following the summer, students work with Institute staff, school officials, and residents in their communities to more fully develop their service project ideas, and then later implement projects that reflect needs in their communities.

The students return to campus the following spring to present their community service projects to a panel of judges, and the winning project receives funds for program expansion or replication.

Learn more about the Riley Institute’s Emerging Public Leaders program. Or contact program director Melanie Armstrong at the Riley Institute (864) 294-3546, or melanie.armstrong@furman.edu.

Business at the top of the world

May X students at Microsoft

May X students at Microsoft

New York businesses beckoned—and 21 Furman students and two professors headed to the economic hub of the United States.

About 60 percent of the students participating in Furman’s Business at the Top of World class during the three-week May Experience program in New York City were business, accounting, or economics majors. They were joined by students from other majors including English, earth and environmental sciences, political science, and psychology.

Led by Dr. Kirk Karwan, Furman’s Robert E. Hughes Professor of Business Administration, and Susan Zeiger, Furman’s director of internship programs, the group toured numerous New York businesses, cultural organizations, and tourist attractions.

To prepare for what they would do in the city and to maximize their potential for learning, the group researched the companies they would visit and heard a presentation from a local marketing firm. After the presentation, they practiced forming insightful, probing questions that would help them learn more about each company on their tour schedule.

The goal of the class was to expose the students to businesses in a major urban economic center while also acquainting students with Furman alumni and other contacts in the city.

But the students took away much more from the experience.

“Besides learning about the state of the economy in New York City—which is strong—the kids got real world advice on what it takes to land a job in a city like New York,” Karwan said.

While on the trip, Kathleen Marsh ’18 discovered that she wants to work in finance and find an internship in New York City next year. “I need to make more of an effort to network because forming lasting relationships seems to be the way to get opportunities,” she said

“I am going to start making connections with individuals, whether at a family gathering, at a Furman event, or at other social events. Having an introverted personality, I used to think of networking in a negative way, but talking to alumni who are so willing to help showed me how easy it can be,” said Allie Buff  ’16.

The group toured the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch trading desks, Mircrosoft, SWIFT, Carnegie Hall, LinkedIn, DBRS, Sirius XM, Weitzman Group, Bloomberg, Bayer Health Care, Google, L’Oreal, MDRC, and Index Exchange. The company visits included lectures and discussions with managers who often brought in younger associates, Karwan said. Young Furman alumni were involved in many of the visits.

Jack Benton ’17 learned that GPA isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to landing a job. “I know that grades matter in getting a great job, but until this trip, I didn’t realize how much importance companies place on an individual’s prior experience and ability to learn new material quickly,” he said.

Students visited the R&D lab at Bayer and the Microsoft and Google offices where they experienced new and innovative work environments that they could then compare to more traditional office environments at companies like L’Oreal.

Some of the newer technology companies have open work places, casual dress, and provision of anything an employee might need or want—“anything to encourage you to want to be in the workplace,” Karwan said.

At the Stock Exchange, a couple of the students were allowed to finalize a trade, at LinkedIn they set up their own accounts, and at Sirius they met rapper 50 Cent. fifty

It wasn’t all work. The group had dinner events with young alumni in the city, visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walked about the High Line in Chelsea, toured the garment district, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the 9/11 Museum, attended an alumni event at the New York Athletic Club, and took in a New York Yankees game, dining on Stadium Terrace. Armed with subway passes, the students also explored the city in their free time.

When asked what he took away from the program, Logan Hayslett ’16 said, “I am going to update my LinkedIn, ask employers for advice on entering their careers, and I also learned that it’s important to gain a few years’  work experience before entering an MBA program.”

Learn more about the May Experience program and internships at Furman.



Keith Lockhart to conduct free concert at Peace Center

keith-lockhart1Renowned conductor and Furman graduate Keith Lockhart, a frequent visitor to Greenville, will present an admission-free concert with the Brevard Music Center orchestra on Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m. at the Peace Center in Greenville.

The orchestra, which consists of top-notch student musicians from around the country, will be joined by cello soloist Cicely Parnas.

The program will include Dvořák’s “In Nature’s Realm,” Khachaturian’s Cello Concerto, Kodály’s “Dances of Galanta” and Janáček’s “Sinfonietta.”

Lockhart, a 1981 Furman graduate and longtime conductor of the Boston Pops, is an alumnus of the Brevard Music Center and serves as its artistic director and principal conductor. He has conducted nearly every major orchestra in North America and other prominent orchestras throughout the world. In 2010, Lockhart was appointed principal conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Read more in The Greenville News.

Mentor, colleague, friend


Education professor Lesley Quast to retire after nearly 40 years at Furman

When Education Professor Judy Stuart first came to Furman University, Lesley Quast was there. As the department chair at the time, Quast offered her encouragement with her soft voice and comfort with her knowing smile.

“She seemed to say, ‘I understand’ with a nod and a gentle hand on my shoulder,” said Stuart, who coordinates Furman’s Special Education program. “It all worked beautifully to help me make the transition to the university.”

Whether she’s working closely with a faculty member or assisting a struggling freshman with his/her first year of college, it’s a story that’s told over and over again.

During her nearly 40 years at Furman, Quast is a professor and administrator who has become known for her warmth and kindness as a mentor, colleague, and friend. She will retire from the university on June 30.

Quast, a native of Chicago born to Canadian parents, found her way down south where she began her undergraduate studies at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C., a small liberal arts college where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

As a college student, she worked as a camp counselor for a program in New Jersey that served children with brain injuries. While several of her fellow counselors went home crying the first day, Quast was undaunted.

“These children had a lot of promise,” Quast said. “You just had to figure how to bring it out.”

Her gift for seeing potential in those around her has served her well throughout her career in education.

She began working as a special education teacher in the Richmond, Va. area, where she taught 12 students with disabilities ranging from spina bifida to paranoid schizophrenia.

Quast was then offered an assistantship at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she received her master of education degree in special education in 1971.

After teaching at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children in Richmond and working as a supervisor of University of Virginia master’s degree interns in mainstreamed classrooms, more doors opened for Quast.

“I’m typically not a goal setter for my life,” said Quast. “I tend to grab opportunities that seem to be right as I go along.”

She was drawn to the close-knit community at Furman and joined the university as a faculty member in the Education Department in 1976. She completed her doctorate in special education from the University of Alabama in 1977.

During her nearly four decades at Furman, Quast has held a variety of positions, including coordinator of Special Education, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) coordinator, director of Teacher Education, Education Department chair and director of Partnerships and Special Projects.

She was a key player in designing and implementing the Teacher to Teacher program, a partnership between Furman and local school districts that allows program participants to become first-year classroom teachers at the start of the K-12 academic year following graduation while continuing to complete teaching certification on the graduate level.

In her most recent role as assistant academic dean, Quast was primarily responsible for the administration and implementation of the university’s academic advising program. Her work with students experiencing academic difficulties earned her the Meritorious Advising Award last year.

Working with colleagues in Student Life, Quast helped craft a successful Summer Orientation program for new students built around academic experiences they will need in order to succeed at Furman. She also developed programs to assist parents in transitioning their students to college.

Quast was elected to a number of positions of leadership in the Council for Exceptional Children, a national organization that advocates for people with special needs. She chaired the South Carolina Network for Educational Renewal, a consortium with membership from Furman, the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Winthrop University, and Benedict College.

Known for her profound interest in issues of diversity, Quast was instrumental in the development of Diverse School Cultures, a course that has received recognition from accrediting agencies and is part of the senior block experience for education majors certifying to teach.

Quast has served on numerous administrative and faculty committees on campus, including the university Diversity Committee, which she co-chaired first with Dr. Idella Glenn and then Assistant Chaplain Maria Swearingen.

Whether working with school districts—that eventually became Furman’s long-time partners in our transition from a traditional teacher education program to the highly recognized extended program the university showcases today—to conceptualizing grant proposals—that energized Furman’s program of teacher preparation and brought revenue to the Department, Furman, and the South Carolina Network for Educational Renewal—Quast has the ability to find practical, creative, and sometimes refreshingly unconventional solutions to complex issues, said Education Department Chair Nelly Hecker.

“We value and respect Lesley’s thinking,” said Hecker. “She is a caring mentor and advisor, a thoughtful teacher, and gracious friend.”

It’s a sentiment that’s echoed among her former students.

“From the moment I set foot in the Education Department as a sophomore, Dr. Quast was an uplifting encourager,” said Colin Rork ’00, a teacher at Hunt Meadows Elementary School in Anderson School District One for the past 15 years. “When some believed that perhaps my spiky hair was not appropriate for the elementary school setting, she laughed and reminded me to always be true to myself.”

“She motivated me to become expertly aware of the state standards.  She showed me how to thoroughly prepare my lessons.  But most importantly, she provided the support that empowered me to create my own personal classroom to reflect my personality, my interests, and my style,” said Rork.

“Thankfully for me, I can still hear Dr. Quast cheering me on.  I always enjoyed the way that she drew out the word love when giving a compliment.  She might say, “I just LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the way that you set up your classroom.”  Then, to show her sincerity, she followed it up with the reasons why she loved it,” Rork said.  “I will always associate Dr. Quast with my positive feelings towards education. I will never forget the way she made me feel about myself as I discovered the teacher in me.”

Quast said she hopes to stay involved in the Furman community after retirement. She looks forward to spending time with her husband, Al Keiser, son, Ryan and grandchildren, Ryder and Evie, as well as doing some house decluttering and writing.

Retire from work, not life

olli-smallWhen you retire from work, do you also have to retire from life? Not at all. Many senior adults in Greenville County choose to remain active and contribute to their community by volunteering, finding a second career, taking classes, traveling, spending time with their families, and much more. And some have made a larger commitment to the community by participating in Senior Leaders Greenville, a program offered by Furman’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Two OLLI members wrote an op-ed about the leadership program for The Greenville News.

Bridges to a Brighter Future students enroll in college

Bridges students enroll in college, sizedTwenty Greenville County high school graduates and participants in Furman University’s Bridges to a Brighter Future will enroll in college. Nearly all the graduates will be enrolling as first-generation college students.

The mission of Bridges to a Brighter Future is to give students the tools and support they need to overcome barriers, graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary education.

Director of Bridges to a Brighter Future Pam Davis says, “We couldn’t be more proud of our Bridges graduates. They have worked so hard, overcome obstacles and are achieving their goals of graduating high school and attending college. The beauty of the Bridges to a Brighter Future family is that we will continue supporting them as they cross the bridge and transition from high school to college. We look forward to seeing the successes that await each one of them.”

The 20 students will participate in “Crossing the Bridge,” a college transition and retention component designed to ensure Bridges students enroll in college, stay in college, and graduate. It includes a week-long intensive summer program on the Furman campus, ongoing advisement and support in college, and career mentoring through college graduation.

The graduating Bridges to a Brighter Future students and their chosen colleges are:

Berea High School: Cole Foster (Anderson University); Callie McKenzie (Converse College)
Carolina High School: Quan McMorris (Greenville Technical College)
Greenville High School: Rebekah Harrison (Greenville Technical College)
Greenville Tech Charter High School: Natalie McCray (University of Richmond)
Greer Middle Charter High School: Mutaz Sarhan (Furman University)
Greer High School: Marcos Juarez (Greenville Technical College); Deontae Taylor (Art Institute of Charlotte)
Hillcrest High School: Austin Brown (Newberry College); Nevonne Burrell (University of South Carolina); Youstina Rezkalla (University of South Carolina); Jaalin Scott (Randolph Macon College)
JL Mann High School: Andres Isaza (Duke University)
Legacy Charter High School: Angel Clayton (Benedict College)
Riverside High School: Fabby Gonzalez (Furman University)
Southside High School: Kimberly McCall (University of South Carolina-Upstate)
Travelers Rest High School: Brittany Drummond (Greenville Technical College); Amyas Jackson (Diablo Valley College, Calif.)
Wade Hampton High School: Jaylan Eichelberger (Morris College); Grecia Guerrero (Greenville Technical College)

Since the program was launched in 1997, more than 460 students have participated in Bridges to a Brighter Future.

Learn more about Bridges to a Brighter Future at www.bridgestoabrighterfuture.org, or contact program director Pam Davis at (864) 294-3135, or pam.davis@furman.edu.