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Feminism, Nature and the Environment Topic of Sept. 21 Lecture

September 19, 2006

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MACOMB, IL – Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, an associate professor of anthropology at Western Illinois University, will present “Feminism, Nature and the Environment” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21 in the University Union Heritage Room.

Her presentation is part of the Fall 2006 Nature and Spirituality series coordinated by Western Illinois Art Professor Emeritus Fred Jones for the UniversityÂ’s First Year Experience (FYE) program. The lecture is open free to the public.

Since joining WesternÂ’s faculty in 2000, McIlvaine-Newsad has designed and has taught new courses in gender and anthropology; anthropology, technology and change; and the anthropology of ecofeminism, which combines the goals of the feminist and environmental movements.

“To be remembered and useful, new knowledge must be meaningfully connected to a student's own experiences,” she said. “The cross-cultural perspective of anthropology and students' exposure to how people from around the world respond differently to different problems helps students expand their horizons. Thus they can better comprehend how people from different cultures can contribute to solving problems that confront us all as humans. I argue that for university professors to be effective teachers, we must constantly be thinking of new ways to actively engage our students.”

McIlvaine-Newsad, who is also a research fellow for the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western, received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida (2000) in applied cultural anthropology with a focus on gender, agriculture and natural resource management strategies in Ecuador. She earned an M.A. in International Development from Ohio University. She followed her B.A. in German from Denison University serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. She speaks fluent German and Spanish.

The Nature and Spirituality series, which complements the 2006-07 University Theme, “Global Challenges Personal Responsibility – Cultural Diversity,” includes eight lectures, a choral concert and an art exhibit orchestrated by Jones. The series is outlined on the Nature and Spirituality website at

Jones joined the WIU faculty in 1968 after teaching two years at Chester College of Art in England. He first came to the U.S. from his home country of Wales in 1964 as a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. He has integrated computer graphics technology and interdisciplinary mixed media into Western's art curriculum, and in 1995 he was named the WIU Faculty Lecturer for his scholarly achievements and contributions to the University. In April 2000, Jones was recognized by the WIU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi honor society with the Outstanding Artist Award.

Jones has won numerous awards in national and regional competitive exhibits and has received six commissions for the Illinois Percentage for Art program for his landscape works for public buildings. Many of his works are in public and private collections in the U.S. and U.K.

A significant part of Jones' artistic production at Western was through the Western Illinois Folio Press, which he founded in 1980. He has produced five interdisciplinary portfolios, which are available to view online at

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