Harper College news & notes
Updated: March 18, 2013 2:04PM
Professor honored for environmental work
For five years, Harper College students have cut brush, pulled weeds and restored living spaces for living things as volunteers with local environmental organizations. Now a Barrington-based group is honoring the professor who inspired them.
Craig Stettner, an associate professor of biology who also oversees Harper’s Environmental Club, has been named the winner of this year’s William H. Miller Conservation Award, the highest honor bestowed by the 42-year-old Citizens for Conservation organization.
Stettner, who has headed up the Environmental Club since 2002, routinely encourages his students to volunteer for Citizens for Conservation and other environmental groups, presenting the opportunity to earn extra credit while also getting hands-on ecological experience and the chance to improve the world around them, said Citizens for Conservation vice president Jim Vanderpoel.
“I’m honored to be the recipient of an award that’s linked directly to conservation,” Stettner said. “My goal every year is to expose my Harper students to real ecological work in the hope that it inspires them to learn even more about biology, the environment and ecology and our role in all of it. They’re able to help a good cause while learning, and that to me is the real reward.”
Stettner, who also sits on the Chicago Audubon Society board, also conducts bird counts at several local sites, coordinated the Dragonfly Monitoring Network — studying the species in Chicago and beyond — from 2005 to 2011, and is a Friends of Busse Woods board member. He was recognized at the group’s annual meeting in February.
Renowned author to return to campus
Celebrated author T.C. Boyle has been more than a casual visitor to Harper College. He’s taught on campus, stepping in to take over literature classes on his two most recent visits.
Boyle, whose close relationship with the College led professor Greg Herriges and colleague Tom Knoff to produce an award-winning documentary on the author’s work in 2008, made his third trip to Harper this month, reading from his latest book, “San Miguel,” on March 19. Boyle’s 14th novel, the book is the story of two families who occupy their own island at different times.
“T.C. Boyle is one of the most innovative and successful authors of fiction writing today,” said Herriges, who considers him an inspiration both in the classroom and as a writer. “He stretches the boundaries of what we writer and educators traditionally thought literature could do, and he does it with humor, insight and biting irony.”
“Boyle brings excitement to the stage when he appears at Harper, because he is not just a reader of fiction – he is a performance artist,” Herriges added. “He enjoys bringing his tales to life, and he lives them in front of us. Each time he visits, he inspires and delights the audience with his passion for literature and the creative process.”
Hula Hoop class turns 1950s staple into modern fun
Harper College is offering a new calorie-burning course that combines an old-school toy with new-school exercise. The Hula Hoop Fitness class will begin March 19, with workouts designed for core strengthening and cardiovascular health.
The noncredit course, offered through the College’s Continuing Education Department, jumps on an evolving trend that has seen hula-hooping grow from a basic physical activity to a form of dance called Hoop Dance, which will be taught in the class.
“I can teach anyone to hoop, no matter their experience,” said instructor Cynthia Narcisi. “It’s so much fun that it doesn’t feel like a workout at all.”
The course, which can burn up to 600 calories in an hour, will incorporate traditional movements like lunges and squats, with the added hula hoop challenge. It runs from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays. For more details on the class or other fitness courses, call (847) 925.6300 or visit www.harpercollege.edu/ce.
‘Parade’ musical takes Harper stage
One hundred years after the tragedy that inspired it, Harper College will stage the Tony Award-winning musical “Parade,” the story of an innocent man wrongly convicted of murdering a teenage girl in 1913 Georgia.
Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. March 22 and 23, and 2 p.m. March 24 in the college’s Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.
Based on a true story, the musical explores themes of bigotry, violence and anti-Semitism within the framework of American history. For Kevin Long, Harper assistant professor and theatre director, the production offers an opportunity to simultaneously entertain and educate contemporary audiences.
“This is not an easy story to tell, but it is an important story to tell,” Long said. “I believe that in performing ‘Parade,’ we are helping to transform the future so that an event like this never happens again.”
Because of its mature content, the musical is not recommended for children under age 13. Tickets are $15 for general admission, with discounts for seniors. To reserve tickets, call (847) 925.6100 or visit www.harpercollege.edu/boxoffice.