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January 19, 2006  Volume 27, No. 15
Speaker: America must boost standards for students
Education consultant Alan November speaks all over the world. But when he addresses a group of Americans, he has a startling message: We’re in an economic war and we’re losing.

“We can move the work to where the people are,” he said. So the question becomes: “Are we producing students who are globally competitive?”

His answer at this point: No.

November believes we need to educate children so they can work with people all over the world. That means setting higher standards in education and embracing technology and innovation, he said.

November, senior partner of November Learning Inc. and author of Empowering Students with Technology, addressed the Harpur Forum last month at the Binghamton Regency. He has been director of an alternative high school, technology consultant and university lecturer. His sharp, humorous Binghamton talk focused on technology in education.

“We’re going to have to redefine literacy,” he said. Students must learn to deal with the massive quantities of information the Web can deliver. That means understanding how that information was created as well as today’s adults understand books.

He cited the Web page as a perfect example of the danger of approaching online material without a critical eye. The piece may at first appear to be a mainstream site devoted to the civil rights leader; in fact, it’s run by a white supremacist group.

“The point is the Internet is quite different from print,” he said. “We need to teach children the structure of information.”

Although many points he made regarding American education were rather pessimistic, November also offered some exciting possibilities in terms of solutions to what he perceives as a crisis.

Every family must become a center of learning, he said, and parents must encourage their children to become lifelong learners. Parents could do more to teach their children, especially when it comes to writing skills, if they had material to guide them. He also noted the importance of parents’ expectations when it comes to children’s performance in school.

“We have underestimated what parents are willing to do,” November said.

He closed with a reflection on Greater Binghamton’s long history of innovation as the birthplace of IBM and the simulation industry. “Go back to your roots,” he urged the audience. “Be a leading light.”

Orband appointed to council
James Orband ’81, managing partner of Hinman, Howard & Kattell, LLP, has been appointed by Gov. George E. Pataki to a seven-year term on the Binghamton University Council. Orband’s term will end June 30, 2011.

The council reviews budget requests, makes regulations for student conduct and reviews plans for improving faculty, staff and the physical plant.

Orband graduated magna cum laude from Binghamton University before earning his law degree from Albany Law School of Union University. He is admitted to practice law in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as the District of Columbia and United States Tax Court.

He focuses on banking, construction, corporate law and mergers and acquisitions.

Orband is active in the community, serving as a director of the Binghamton University Foundation, as well as for the Greater Binghamton Coalition, Spiedie Fest/Balloon Rally Inc., First-Tee, Catholic Charities of Broome County Inc. and the Lourdes Hospital Foundation. He served as chairman of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce from 2002-2004 and as chairman of the 20

04 Empire State Games Local Organizing Committee. Professional memberships include the New York State, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and Florida bar associations. He is also a member of the Business Law Section of the New York State Bar, currently serving as second vice chairman and having served as chairman of the Banking Law Committee from 2001-2004.

Orband serves on various committees for the New York Bankers Association, the Community Bankers Association and Associated Building Contractors.

He is also a director of various charitable foundations and a lecturer on law office management.

Longtime BU philosophy professor dies
Vito Sinisi, professor emeritus of philosophy, died Dec. 27 of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cell. He was 81. Sinisi, who was born in Los Angeles, served with the Army in Germany during World War II and attended Harvard University on the G.I. Bill. He went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.

He taught at Binghamton beginning in 1966, focusing on mathematical logic and social philosophy. Sinisi chaired the Philosophy Department from 1968-71 and 1989-90 and was faculty master of Hinman College from 1973-81.

Daughter Rosaria Sinisi recalled that her father enjoyed his time as faculty master. “He just tried to spend as much time as he could with students,” she said.

Sinisi was the author of Applied Logic (University Press of America, 2000), and the editor of The Heritage of Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz (Rodopi, 1995). He spoke English, Polish and Italian and could read French and some German.

Sinisi retired in 2004. In his free time, he enjoyed reading about cosmology and building wooden furniture.

“Vito was a quiet and humble colleague and made contributions to the philosophy department over many generations,” said Steve Scalet, assistant professor of philosophy and economics.

He noted that Sinisi’s class about affirmative action and discrimination led some students to develop an interest in social philosophy.

“It was sad to see him retire,” Scalet said. “The department feels a sense of loss.”

Sinisi is survived by his wife, Jeanette Sinisi of Binghamton, and a daughter, Rosaria Sinisi of Brooklyn. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perkins School for the Blind, 175 North Beacon St., Watertown, MA 02472.

Human Resources offers workshops
Human Resources will hold a series of professional development workshops for staff members this semester:

“Writing a Successful Resume and Learning the Secrets of Interviewing Well” will be held from 8:30 a.m.-noon Feb. 3, 10 and 17 in PSPC-E/F. This program is for employees who aspire to advance within the trades or other physical facilities positions, the clerical/secretarial staff or entry- to mid-level professional positions.

“Pre-Retirement Planning” will be held from 8:30-11:30 a.m. March 15, 22 and 29 in UU-133. This program covers retirement eligibility, benefits, health insurance options and aspects of financial and legal planning.

“The Binghamton Tradition” offers an understanding of the history and culture of Binghamton University, along with the basics of exemplary customer service. This program, to be held from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 20 in PSPC-E/F, welcomes new employees and is open to all staff members.

Details of these workshops are available under “Workforce Development at For more information, contact Alison Gierlach at 777-6625 or

CEMERS schedules lecture series
The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies will offer a lecture series this semester. Talks will begin at noon in LN-1128. The schedule is as follows:

Feb. 9: Federica Anichini, professor of Italian at Smith College in Massachusetts will speak about “City and Creativity in XIII-Century Florence.”

Feb. 23: Sherry Roush, professor of Italian at Pennsylvania State University, will give a talk titled “Dead Men Tell No Tales: Uses and Abuses of Authorial Ghosts in the Italian Renaissance.”

March 9: Helene Scheck, professor of English at the University at Albany, will speak about “Charlemagne’s Sister: A Case of Stolen Identity.”

March 30: Mario Longtin, professor of French at the University of Ontario (London) in Canada, will give a lecture titled “The Organizing Characters in French Mystery Plays: The Prologue, the Messenger and the Fool.”

April 20: Cary Howie, assistant professor of French at Cornell University, will speak about “Pile Up: Saints, Pornography, and the Paratactic Experience.” The annual Ferber Lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m. April 6 in FA-258.

Medina Lasansky, professor of art history at Cornell University, will speak about “Graffiti and Gore: Bearing Witness at the Sacro Monte of Varallo.”

For more information, call 777-2730 or visit

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Last Updated: 10/14/08