The Baltimore Sun Highlights UMBC Honors College

The Baltimore Sun special section on education recently featured UMBC’s Honors College in an article on the rich educational experiences honors programs provide. The article discusses requirements and opportunities for Honors College students, and describes UMBC’s program as “respected and known for producing well-rounded intellectuals.”

Simon Stacey, director of the Honors College, comments, “interdisciplinary, highly collaborative and discussion based classes” allow Honors College students to study, in greater depth, topics that interest them.

This article is not yet available online.

Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, to Direct Creativity Seminar at Austen Riggs Center

Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz is leading the 2014 Austen Riggs Center Creativity Seminar, which will be held from August 1-2. Spitz is the author of six books and brings psychological perspectives to bear on the arts and on children’s aesthetic lives.

Creativity Seminar photo

2014 Austen Riggs Center Creativity Seminar photo from Ellen Handler Spitz

The conference has the theme of “Translation,” and organizers have posted the following description on the conference website: “we will learn about the process of translation in different areas of creative endeavor in the visual medium of photography, through the embodied work of translation by an orchestral conductor, via the interpretative work of translation by a psychoanalyst, and by means of the multilayered acts of translation in theater.  Our aim is to understand more deeply the subjective and objective nature of interpretation and translation and to stimulate our use of these ideas in our various clinical, educational, and other settings.” To learn more, click here.

Spitz also published an article in the June 2014 issue of “The Brooklyn Rail,” devoted to art and the unconscious. In her piece titled, “Kris-Crossing,” Spitz explores the unconscious, writing about Ernst Kris, a psychoanalytic art writer, and a personal experience she had in the presence of Barbara Chase-Riboud’s 2008 sculpture, “All That Rises Must Converge / Red,” shown with her series, “The Malcolm X Steles.” To read the full article, click here.

Jodi Kelber-Kaye, Honors College, on The Marc Steiner Show

Jodi Kelber-Kaye, associate director of the Honors College, joined The Marc Steiner Show on May 30 to celebrate the 163rd anniversary of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech.

Kelber-Kaye spoke about teaching about the intersections of race and gender in the history of women’s rights advocacy, saying, “This is an incredibly interesting conversation that I actually have always had with my students. One of the things that’s really nice about UMBC is that we have an extraordinarily diverse population. So my classrooms have always been filled with people from all over the world and different races who have wanted to have conversations about this word ‘feminism.'”

Other panelists included Lea Gilmore, cultural correspondent for the Center for Emerging Media, dream hampton, co-author of Decoded, and A. Adar Ayira, project manager of the More in the Middle Campaign for Associated Black Charities.

Click here to listen to the full segment titled, “Sojourner Truth’s ‘Ain’t I A Woman?': African American Women & Feminism.”

Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, in The New York Times Sunday Book Review

Illuminating Childhood“Almost entirely absent from elementary school curriculums, rarely chosen as bedtime reading by parents, poetry — formerly a joyful accouterment of youth, an inexhaustible gift — seems forgotten. Yet poetry and children belong together. And who, among the great American poets, could be more appropriate for childhood than Emily Dickinson?” reads a book review written by Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz published May 9 in The New York Times

In her article in the Sunday Book Review titled “That Amherst Belle,” Spitz reviews two new children’s books: Eileen Spinelli’s “Another Day as Emily,” illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, and Burleigh Mutén’s “Miss Emily,” illustrated by Matt Phelan. She notes the two books “strive to create, by very different means and with different results, a sense of the poet Emily Dickinson as a person.”

Spitz writes the two books do a good job of introducing readers to Dickinson’s “eccentric persona,” but an opportunity is lost because none of Dickinson’s poems is printed in full in either book.

Ellen Handler Spitz has written frequently about children’s literature for The New Republic and is author of “Illuminating Childhood.” To read the full book review in The New York Times, click here.

Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, Publishes Chapters in New Book

A Spirit that ImpelsHonors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz has published two chapters in a new book out this month titled, “A Spirit that Impels: Play, Creativity, and Psychoanalysis.” The contributing authors in the book look at creativity through a psychoanalytic lens and analyze great works such as The Scarlet Letter, Mahler’s Eighth and The Miracle Worker, as well as great artists Van Gogh and Lennon/McCartney.

The book brings together papers presented by scholars at an annual creativity seminar organized by the Erikson Institute of the Austen Riggs Center. The authors explore the central questions of how to understand the creative process, contributions of psychoanalysis to that understanding, and what opens up for psychoanalysis by engaging with creativity. For more information on the book, click here.

Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, Writes Essay in City Paper for National Library Week

For National Library Week, Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz wrote an essay in City Paper that examines the value of borrowing books, especially children’s books, from the library.

"Inside Picture Books" by Ellen Handler Spitz

“Feeling rebellious over our dizzying speed-mad era of e-books, e-readers, digital and virtual realities, I want to advocate for the practice of borrowing a good old-fashioned book from the library—especially now, during National Library Week. I want to remind everyone of the simple joy of settling down in a cozy nook, turning well-worn pages, and reading aloud to a child,” Spitz writes.

She discusses the value of reading children’s books of the past and maintaining links among generations, while also focusing on the importance of fostering imagination and creativity in young readers.

“With no slight intended but rather my sincere appreciation to the wonderful children’s book authors of today, I urge you to check out the classics of the past. Borrow them from your library. Share them with the children in your life.  Their quality rewards sustained attention—hushed, absorbed hours. Read alone or with an adult, they allow today’s children to slow down, to turn away from trivial distractions, and to expand inwardly in historic time, from generation to generation…”

To read the complete essay titled “Remembering Children’s Books of Yesteryear During National Library Week,” click here.

Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, Participates in Community Development Program in Appalachia

Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz recently traveled to Sewanee, Tennessee to the University of the South, where she was invited as a guest lecturer in the pioneering program, “Child, Family and Community Development in Rural Appalachia.”

EHS at Sewanee

Ellen Handler Spitz reads to children as part of the “Child, Family and Community Development in Rural Appalachia” program.

The program is sponsored by the University of the South, The Yale Child Study Center and Scholastic. A major goal of the program is to help children and families in poverty-stricken Appalachia while building community and fostering a rich cultural life.

As part of the program, Spitz lectured and read story books to four groups of children ranging from three to six years old and met with colleagues and planners, sitting in on a variety of sessions and classes that involve the program, the arts, children’s literature and psychology.