Students, faculty, and members of the community reflect on events sponsored by or related to
The Baker Institute.

PACS student rep for director search shares her committee experience
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Stephanie Farfan ('15) gained valuable experience serving on an academic search committee in her final semester at Juniata.
Submitted photo

In spring 2015, Stephanie Farfan ('15) helped choose the Baker Institute's current director. 

Farfan, a PACS and French POE, didn’t say much at the first committee meeting, which she said was mostly concerning the wording of the job announcement on Juniata’s human resources webpage. At the second meeting, Fletcher encouraged her to speak up, assuring her that the committee, composed of about eight faculty and administrators, wanted honest input from a student.Stephanie Farfan had never been involved with an academic committee before—let alone one in which her voice was instrumental in finding a new director for the Baker Institute for Peace & Conflict Studies. History professor Alison Fletcher invited Farfan to be the PACS student representative for the search committee in late fall 2014, and after asking what was expected of her, Farfan agreed.

“I was intimidated at the first meeting. I didn’t say a thing. I was scared, because it was all my professors.” - Farfan '15

After that, Farfan felt more confident speaking up.

“I felt like they wanted to hear what I had to say,” she said.

The first opinion Farfan expressed concerned the importance of having a director who could connect with students.

“My focus was on a [candidate’s] ability to teach and how students would be engaged, whether at the freshman level, teaching Intro to PACS, or at the more advanced level teaching nonviolence,” Farfan said. She indicated that the committee seemed focused, at least at first, on administrative capabilities and seemed to receive her opinion and student perspective well.

Farfan said one of her favorite parts of serving on the search committee was attending each candidate’s public presentation. She said she learned from each one, and was pleased to see the presentations were well-attended by other PACS students. On speaking to those students, they seemed to particularly enjoy one candidate’s presentation on the events in Ferguson, MO.

Farfan also said she was happy to get to know some of the PACS affiliated faculty a little bit more by serving on the committee. She said if she were to have a “do-over” of this first committee experience, she would have wanted to come in more familiar with the goals and purpose of the Baker Institute.

Thanks to Stephanie Farfan for being a voice for PACS students and serving on the Institute’s director search committee!

Dr. Alison Fletcher (History) remembers the Fairfield Four

The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies sponsored the Fairfield Four, an acclaimed and influential gospel quartet, who performed at The Stone Church on November 8, 2015.  The group was first formed in 1921, and the present members are led by Joe Thompson.  The other vocalists are Levert Allison, Bobbye Sherrell, and Larrice Byrd Sr. The group sang to a packed house that included the Juniata community, Huntingdon residents, and members of the Mount Union Baptist church. After the performance, Jerry Zolten, a musicologist and Penn State Altoona Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, led a discussion on the influence of gospel music, particularly the music of the Fairfield Four. Jim Tuten remarked afterwards that he could not remember a better community outreach program since he came to Juniata.

Thanks, Alison!