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Download Now: Podcast Series Features Dartmouth Scholars

President announces new Dartmouth mission statement

Since 2005, Dartmouth's Office of Public Affairs has produced Views from the Green, a series of podcast interviews with faculty and other members of the Dartmouth community. From detecting fraud in digital images to social security reform, the interviews include a variety of topics and voices from the College.

This issue of Focus on Faculty features excerpts from two recent faculty podcasts. To hear more, visit the Web site.

Lewis Glinert
Lewis Glinert

A linguist's take on drug advertising
Lewis Glinert, professor of Asian and Middle Eastern languages and literatures, has brought his training as a linguist to bear on the subject of drug labeling and advertising. He has consulted for pharmaceutical companies and has testified on pharmaceutical advertising before the Food and Drug Administration. Glinert is interviewed by Genevieve Haas of the Office of Public Affairs.

GH: You say that claims that the advertising is clear and explicit are not accurate?
LG: No. It's very clear from the linguistics literature that advertising, like poetry, is exquisitely capable of reinventing itself, of finding unexpected ways to send a message. It's living in a dream world to think that a print ad or a commercial for Lipitor is not going to find ways to sell the product that will go by our defenses.

The advertisements are a very strange blend of promotion, information, and entertainment. This poses very serious problems. For example, how is an elderly person not clearly capable of taking in fast, complex messages going to deal with this kind of ad?

You also have competition between the visuals and the upbeat music and the risk message. So even though the ad may do its duty by saying results may vary, if at the same time you are seeing the woman beaming and a string of superlatives, what is the net effect?

GH: Could you talk about your work studying drug Web sites?
LG: Web sites are being used in some ways as a fallback, where the company says all the information is being provided, to be in fulfillment of the legal requirements. Much of it takes the form of promotion, some of it takes the form of education. Is it really a case of informing the public in better ways?

One thing seems plain—the public is becoming more savvy about this whole enterprise. Ultimately, I think a lot depends on how many minutes doctors have with their patients.

Roger Ulrich '77
Roger Ulrich '77 (Photos by Joseph Mehling '69)

A classic education
Professor of Classics Roger Ulrich '77 discovered his passion for ancient cultures while a student at Dartmouth. Today, his interests gravitate specifically toward Roman archeology, and in this podcast he talks about his work with undergraduates, his new book, Roman Woodworking, and a project to help soldiers preserve historic sites in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ulrich is interviewed by Susan Knapp of the Office of Public Affairs.

SK: When did your interest in this field begin?
RU: I was a pre-med when I started at Dartmouth, but I studied Latin and through our department was introduced to the world of archeology. I visited Italy for the first time in the fall of 1974 on one of Dartmouth's hallmark foreign study programs, the type of program that I am now very privileged to lead. That got me started down the path of an interest in classical archeology and the Roman world in particular.

SK: Tell me about the courses you teach and the Foreign Study Programs.
RU: Dartmouth really stands alone in offering a full curriculum in classical studies—ancient history, philosophy, archeology, Greek and Latin—to undergraduates without having a graduate program.

We take students to both Greece and Italy. The Rome program is based in the city, but we travel throughout Italy. Most of the sites that we visit still have active excavations. The famous Roman Forum itself still has active excavations taking place. It is inspiring for the students to see that the remains they are visiting are still the subject of active inquiry by scholars. They quickly learn the ropes and discover that they have original things to say.

In fall 2003 Dartmouth leased space in the center of Rome, and five different foreign study programs coalesced from different parts of Italy into Rome. We now have every year at least three Italian language programs, an art history program, and our classics programs. It's developed tremendously, and we now have a bit of the Dartmouth campus in the center of the capital city of Italy.

SK: Can you talk about your own research and the book you recently published?
RU: Roman Woodworking is about a topic that has been little-studied because wood from the ancient Roman world tends to have disappeared. I realized in working on this book that wood was probably the single most important natural resource used by the Romans. My challenge was to bring together materials that existed in many different countries and museums and organize them in ways that would hold together as a single topic for study.

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 5/30/08