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Goucher Poll Results Are In

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Drew Phillips, Staff Writer

March 5th, 2017

This academic year’s second rendition of the semi-annual Goucher Poll released its full results Monday. The poll, which operates out of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, surveys a random sample of Maryland residents about their political opinions by having trained Goucher students call landlines and cell phones in the state, over the course of five days. Dr. Mileah Kromer has directed the poll since its conception five years ago, and in that time has taken it from non-existent to the most highly regarded poll in Maryland. She describes the goal of the poll as attempting to continue to be a very solid statewide poll, while also “asking questions of a national interest.”

The poll was scheduled to be conducted from February 18th—22nd, but higher response levels than anticipated allowed calling to conclude on the 21st, having surveyed 776 Maryland adults. The results were not particularly shocking. President Donald Trump is exceedingly unpopular, with a 29 percent approval rating in heavily Democratic Maryland, however it should not go unnoted that he has a 71 percent approval rating among Republicans in the state. Republican Governor Larry Hogan remains popular with Marylanders, boasting a 63 percent approval rating; a 7 percent drop in support from last September, but a number which is still quite impressive. Additionally, Maryland’s congressional representatives Benjamin Cardin (D) and newly elected Chris Van Hollen (D) hold approval ratings of 45 and 44 percent, respectively. Congress continues to sit in the approval ratings cellar, only 21 percent of Maryland residents approve of the job they are doing.

Among questions about their representatives, Marylanders were also asked about a range of political topics facing the state. Among the most interesting and relevant topics, 60 percent of Maryland residents support raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, 58 percent support legalizing recreational marijuana, and 70 percent of the residents in the heavily gerrymandered state support having their congressional and legislative districts drawn by an independent commission rather than by the state’s elected officials. As usual, the poll has garnered a large deal of attention in the state, and even some national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and reporting the results. Fortunately, I was able to talk to Dr. Kromer for a bit so she could give The Q some insight into the Goucher Poll.

DP: First, I want to ask about polling in general. There was a lot of backlash against polling on the right and left following Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the general election this fall—do critics of polls have a point, or was there more of a misreading of the polls than the polls themselves being inaccurate?

MK: I think it was certainly more of a misreading of polls. The issue is, we have all these different individuals giving predictions and they all assign their own probability of an outcome—people really focused on the idea that Hillary Clinton had a 75 or 80, sometimes even 90 percent chance of winning. When you start to break it down and look at individual polls, what you see is that a lot of them were within the margin of error. For example, polls that were tracking Hillary Clinton nationally were correct, she did win the national popular vote. There were some polls that were off in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, they were a little bit outside the margin of error—Florida had issues with this as well. However, by and large most of these polls were within the margin of error. Keep in mind that there’s a plus or minus [with each poll] and if it’s at three percent or four percent and the poll has somebody up 49-48 over the other, that person is not up, they’re statistically indistinguishable from each other.

DP: And the Goucher Poll margin of error is usually at about 3.5, right?

MK: Right, we usually end up with between 600 and 700 or so interviews which puts us around a 3.5 percent margin of error.

DP: So in terms of the Goucher Poll, do you have any big takeaways from this round?

MK: Sure, so what I think is really interesting is that Governor Hogan’s approval ratings are back to what they were last year, exactly. In September of 2016, they reached a really high level—I think in a lot of ways an unsustainable level. It’s impossible for any politician, much less a Republican in a blue state to maintain a 70 percent approval rating. Now they’re back down to 63 percent, which is still really good.

DP: And that kind of has to do with my next question. Having read the press release I know that you don’t really think this dip in approval rating has to do with any sort of “Trump Effect,” so I guess your take on it is that this is sort of a regression to the mean?

MK: I guess my take on it is this: I think if there was a “Trump Effect” in the numbers, one, when we asked about whether Hogan is spending too much, too little, or the right amount of time addressing Trump related issues, if there was a true Trump effect you would see in the responses more people saying “too little time,” that number would have been very elevated. Secondly, when you actually run an analysis looking at Hogan’s approval ratings crosstabbed against Trump’s, 51 percent of those who disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as President, approve of the way Larry Hogan is handling his job. So there isn’t a natural overlap of one pulling the other one down. Finally, when we asked people who disapproved of the job Larry Hogan was doing, we asked people why, and only 12 percent of those individuals said they disapproved of Hogan because of Donald Trump. So we’re talking about a very small percentage of people within a very small percentage, and to me that just does not show a significant “Trump effect.”

DP: So when you started the poll five years ago, what were your aspirations for it?

MK: I think five years ago, my aspirations were to just get it off the ground. Then, I would have told you I would be completely satisfied to produce two methodologically rigorous and appropriate polls a year. Now, we’re starting to enter into a stage where we’re looking to the future. The Goucher Poll is certainly interested in expanding our offerings to maybe doing focus groups, and perhaps increasing the number of polls we do per year. Those are all things we’re thinking about for the future. We’ve really established ourselves as a poll of record in Maryland; we’re the go to poll, and so I think it’s really important that we start to now build on that reputation. I spent the first five years trying to build a very solid reputation for the poll, now it’s time to advance on that.

Post-Study Abroad Poster Session

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Erika DiPasquale, Associate Editor

February 25th, 2017

During the common hour on Wednesday, February 15th, the 45+ students who studied abroad during the Fall 2016 semester took over the Hyman Forum for a poster session. The poster session is a brand new addition to the mandatory study abroad curriculum. OIS asked students to choose topics from a list that they were most interested in presenting—such as arts, transportation, sports, education, food, etc.—and assigned them into groups based on those preferences.

The poster session is the brain-child of Jennifer White, the Associate Director of OIS. According to White, “The Office of International Studies, along with many on campus, has long recognized the need for creating opportunities for students to share reflections on their study abroad experiences.” The poster session is the most recent attempt to fill this void. Each group had about three students and “in most cases, the groups [were] comprised of students from different countries, to allow for a comparative framework,” said White. The groups informally presented their spiel to those who approached their table, some groups using posters while others showcased Power Points from their laptops.

The presenters had mixed reviews about the experience. Ryan Salamony ‘17 “thought that being able to connect with others concerning our chosen topics and to discuss how such topics impacted our interactions with the local culture…was fascinating and a good way of showcasing different perspectives…It was a good way of letting us step back from the situation, back with our Goucher goggles on, to look at our time abroad in a different way.” Brandon Creed ‘18, who studied abroad in Scotland, liked the poster session because it gave an overview of what everyone experienced. Rachel Grosso ‘18, Meg John ‘18, and Grace Flannery ‘18, the members of the transportation group, all expressed how much they learned from the conversations they had with one another when developing their presentation. Anna Young ’18, who studied in Greece, said, “The centralized space to tell stories about our experiences is beneficial. It validates that the Goucher community does care about our study abroad experiences. There’s room for improvement, but it’s a good step to integrate the abroad experience into the Goucher community in a meaningful way.”

Many of the presenters also agreed that there was room for improvement.  Although Meg John ’18 appreciated the space to speak about her experiences in Uganda, she said “the assignment felt forced.” Transportation, the topic she was assigned, wasn’t all she experienced abroad. “The presentation speaks to the project, not to my experiences…Goucher can do wonders [with the post-study abroad program] so that it’s not a chore,” said Meg John ’18.

Grace Flannery ‘18, held similar sentiments. She “didn’t go abroad [to South Korea] to compare and contrast, but to experience Asian culture.” Love-Moore, who studied abroad in Argentina, said, “I don’t know if [the poster session] is helpful. It was annoying to be arbitrarily put into groups with a more or less random topic.” Anne Werkheiser ‘18 agreed that it wasn’t as effective as it could’ve been, stating, “it feels like something I did in middle school” and “no one is here.” Attendance was extremely low, with as few as three people visiting one of the Education tables throughout the hour-long session, according to Lea Love-More ‘18.

Along with such criticism, the presenters have ideas for how to revise the program. Many suggested small group conversations in place of the poster session. Grosso noted that her group discussed so much beyond their assigned topic, and their fruitful conversation was the beneficial aspect of the assignment rather than the presentation or assigned topic. Desirae Moten ’17 said, “Let’s just have a dinner and chat.” Flannery also thinks that conversations would’ve been “more meaningful.”

A couple of students would’ve preferred formal presentations. Doing so would’ve allowed the presenters to hear other students’ presentations, which was not an option with the poster session format, according to Werkheiser. Salamony also wanted the opportunity to hear the other presentations, but he wouldn’t have liked to present to the entire community. Jennifer White assured that “as with any new venture, we’ll evaluate [Wednesday’s] events to see how it can be enhanced in Fall 2017 for the 95+ students currently studying abroad this spring semester.”

The poster session was just the first step in revising the post-study abroad experience. More changes are to come, with each rendition improving upon the last, in an effort to provide students with the best framework to process, reflect upon, and share their study abroad experiences.

Goucher Style: Haley Rice

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Annie Schwartz, Arts & Entertainment Editor

February 25th, 2017

Who: Haley Rice, Senior, Socialogy Major

Annie Schwartz: Describe your style.

Haley Rice: I like to wear mostly black and neutral colors with a small pop of red (or sometimes burgundy). I love things that are oversized, lots of layers, and having fun with different materials, hem lines, and textures.

AS: How are you able to dress so well even on your laziest day?

HR: Just wear all black!

AS: Who is your Goucher style crush?

HR: Annie Schwartz, duh!

AS: Which Goucher professor has the best style?

HR: When I had class with Citlali, I always loved her colorful skinny jeans. Also her watch was always on point.

AS: Where did you go abroad and how has that affected your sense of style?

HR: I studied abroad in Seville, Spain. Sevillanos always look good. Everyone was always put together, especially during the holidays such as Semana Santa and Feria. You wouldn’t be caught dead in sweatpants there. Even wearing sneakers is pushing it. Chelsea boots with a thick platform sole were really in while I was there. So were those preppy plaid Burberry-esque scarves. I really learned how to be stylish but still comfortable while I was there. It’s something Spain has really got down!

AS: What is your go to item?

HR: A black cardigan!

AS: What is your fashion pet peeve?

HR: Mixing metals even though I do it all the time. Also graphic tees are the worst.

AS: Do you have a favorite store you like to shop at?

HR: If I had all the money in the world I would shop at Zara every day. It reminds me of Spain. They had Zara’s everywhere.

AS: Out of all of your roommates, whose clothes are you most likely to steal?

HR: Vinesh’s banana shirt.

AS: What is your least favorite trend?

HR: Tucking your sweatpants into your socks and definitely those lace up tops. Also, jean jackets that you buy with the patches already on them and Calvin Klein underwear. You might as well get a 3-pack of Hanes at Target.

S.E.T.: Winter Carnival and G.I.G Planning

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Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

The Student Engagement Team set the bar high for events on campus this past weekend, with their Winter Carnival. Formerly know as Programming Board, S.E.T. is a group of Goucher students and professional staff members that meet once a week in the Office of Student Engagement (O.S.E). Their purpose is to create fun, entertaining, and enticing events on campus that the majority of the student body will enjoy.

In the past few years, S.E.T. has experienced a lack of participation at their events. They have held pop up events such as spin art, dance parties, and palm readings that haven’t always generated the participation they desired. In order to combat this, their new goal is to hold fewer, but higher quality events. Now, with more money going towards these events, they can generate more interest and student engagement!

The Winter Carnival on February 4th, 2017 is exactly the kind of event Goucher students have been waiting for. The Carnival was held in the the Hyman Forum of Goucher’s Atheneum and included a variety of activities, musical performances, and free food that attracted over two hundred Goucher students. S.E.T. gave priority to student bands, bringing to the stage two Goucher favorites: Mustang Riddle and Sharnell Huff (a recent Goucher graduate). Activities included bamboo planting, spray on tattoos, a photo booth, giant jenga and connect four, and inflatable twister. The favorite of the night, however, was the free food. Outside of the bottom doors of the Atheneum, students stood in the cold to receive their free Korean barbecue, crab tacos, gyro sandwiches, pulled pork, and cookies. Students sat on the steps of the Forum eating food and listening to music while others broke it down on the dance floor. There were activities on each floor of the Forum which kept students engaged after they finished their dinner. Ultimately, the program was well executed by S.E.T. and generated a large student attendance despite the lack of advertising.

S.E.T. will set their sights next on the highly anticipated Get Into Goucher day, (G.I.G), on April 7th. G.I.G. is Goucher’s annual outdoor festival where students get the day off (after 12:30pm) to enjoy festivities. The team is currently in the brainstorming stage for G.I.G. with potential ideas including free food (a crowd favorite), a beer garden, performances from local bands, and inflatable bounce houses. In the past, Goucher has hired outside performers such as Bosley and Khleo Thomas (the actor, Zero, from the 2003 movie, Holes). Currently S.E.T. is pushing for more student bands at events like G.I.G.

S.E.T. has meetings once a week that are open to Goucher students. If you’d like to see an event on campus or have additional ideas for an upcoming event like G.I.G., stop by the O.S.E. outside of Alice’s Cafe. Professional staff members include Aisha Rivers, Christine Krieger, Amber Barnett, and Kimberly Spicker.

Faculty Insider: Eric Singer, International Relations Department

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Olivia Baud, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

In the course of gossip and discussion on the Goucher campus, one question in particular is sure to surface: Who is Eric Singer? Professor Singer is a familiar figure of authority to most political and international relations (IR) scholars at Goucher. Yet he remains a figure shrouded in mystery even to his most admiring pupils.

Last semester, students enrolled in his International Scholars Program (ISP) took it upon themselves to learn more about him and delve into the internet treasure-trove; what they discovered only spurred more curiosity: “he was involved in the ownership group of Lear’s Princess [a racehorse] sold as a broodmare prospect for $2.7 million,” according to the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Students knew him for his original sense of humor, his love for complex vocabulary, and his brutally honest grading, but horses? Famous racehorses? 2.7 million dollars? Imaginations ran wild.

Prof. Singer has a simple explanation for these seemingly incredible circumstances. “A friend from Jersey took me to a racetrack near Ohio State and introduced me to the world of handicapping.” Singer was studying for his Ph.D. at Ohio State University at the time. “I was really drawn to the density of data that existed to determine who was going to win.” Horse-racing became his hobby. “Later in life, I figured maybe I would try owning a horse.” It was in this way that Prof. Singer became involved in a horse racing partnership and an ownership group of Lear’s Princess, a Grade 1 winner that they eventually sold at auction. He emphasizes that as a joint-owner he was only privy to a small share, and he does not own stables as students have so joyously imagined.

While Prof. Singer’s equestrian ties may have been over-embellished, his Goucher history is far from dull. He first entered into the Goucher community in 1986, when he followed up on an ad for an IR teaching position. “It was a replacement position, but the person I was replacing, unbeknownst to me, was a very popular professor,” he recalls amusingly. “So when I walked in, everyone who had signed up for the course was expecting her, not me.” Prof. Singer’s entry also happened to coincide with Goucher’s transition to co-education. “Everyone was disappointed that the first male students would soon be arriving.”

What had originally been a two-year contract turned into 30 years. During the Cold War, IR and Russian studies had been some of the most popular programs at Goucher as students hoped to obtain jobs in the NSA, DIA, and CIA as translators, researchers, etc.. However, following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, a self-study of the Area Studies program revealed that it was losing luster as it suffered reduced enrollments. As a result, a new major, International and Intercultural Studies (IIS), was formed with the intention of supplementing Area Studies. Rivalries between IIS and IR soon took root as each competed over similar subject matter and student interest.

Prof. Singer came up with a solution for these tensions. “When Sandy Ungar became president, I suggested to him to eliminate the IIS major and to introduce a program that all students interested in globalization could participate in.” In 2005, as the college introduced its study abroad requirement and entered “full internalization mode”, ISP was born. To this day, all incoming students are invited to apply. When asked about what aspects of the program he is most proud of, Prof. Singer is quick to mention the “students who put themselves out their way in an effort to develop a perspective on globalization. They ultimately define the path that they want to take”.

In addition to founding ISP, Prof. Singer has taught for the Goucher Prison Education Program. “What I appreciated most about [it] was that it was a reminder of why I went into teaching in the first place. These were people that may not have been given the best background to succeed. Working with them to help them succeed re-energized my commitment to teaching”

While Prof. Singer taught courses in politics in a men’s prison, the experience wasn’t just about the teaching for him. “It’s easy-particularly in a private, liberal arts college- not to think about what kind of students are walking into your classroom, what their experiences with different facets of society is. The Jessup Students come from different backgrounds than your typical liberal arts undergraduate. They had a perspective on politics that was much more nuanced and mature-in some ways- than students from Goucher’s campus. And in some ways they’ve lived a life that’s more political than the average student I’ve had on campus.”

Since teaching at the men’s prison, Prof. Singer continues to figure prominently in the Goucher community. He is currently the Associate Provost for External and Experiential Programs. And no, he is not responsible for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s move to the Goucher campus.

Goucher Style: Wonde Pawlose

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Annie Schwartz, Arts & Entertainment Editor

February 15th, 2017

Who:Wonde Pawlose, Sophomore, International Relations Major

AS: What are you wearing today?

Wonde Pawlose: “I am wearing a pant and sweater and a shirt and shoes”

AS: Who do you think is the most stylish professor at Goucher?

WP: Professor Danny Kimball. He’s a communications professor. He’s always dressed up very well. Yeah, I had his communications class last spring and everyday he hasn’t failed to look great and be very stylish. I also like Zahi Khamis’ scarves from Mexico.

AS: Why do you like to dress so nicely?

WP: I mean in my culture in Ethiopia we are supposed to look our best every day. Whether you are rich or poor, you are supposed to clean what you have and dress well which is presentation. Also, for me, when I dress well, I feel well, which means I will have a very productive day. And also, I dress well to radiate positivity for other people.

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