Monthly Archives: October 2012

*The Oct. 24 elections forum organized by Southern’s Office of Public Affairs, “Politics and Apple Pie: A Look Into The 2012 Presidential & Congressional Elections,” garnered significant media coverage. The event featured keynote speaker Erin McPike, a national political reporter covering the presidential race for Real Clear Politics and a frequent guest analyst on MSNBC and FOX. The forum, which attracted 225 people (including about 40-50 high school students), also included a panel discussion and Q & A.

In addition to preview stories in the recent education supplements in the New Haven Register, Connecticut Post, Norwalk Hour and the iTowns section of the Hartford Courant, WQUN radio (1220 AM) interviewed Erin just before the event. The Register posted a photo online later that day. And Hamden Patch published an article and photo on Nov. 2.

The following is a link to the Register photo:

http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2012/10/24/news/doc50885ed9f1a0c847722662.txt

The following is a link to the Hamden Patch story:

http://hamden.patch.com/articles/national-political-reporter-analyzes-2012-elections-at-scsu

The following is a link to the Courant iTowns article:

http://www.courant.com/community/hc-community-articleresults,0,5942637,results.formprofile?Query=66221HC

*Southern had three stories appear Oct. 14 in a special section of the Connecticut Post called “Educational Outlook 2012.” The three stories were more than any other college or university.

The following were the articles:

Southern celebrated the ceremonial opening of its new School of Business building. (A photo of the new building was included.)

Two new courses on the phenomenon of doomsday predictions are being taught at Southern in connection with the hullabaloo surrounding the Mayan calendar.

A preview of the elections forum, “Politics and Apple Pie,” would be held on campus on Oct. 24.

*Southern also had three stories appear Oct. 18 in the “Education Connection” supplement of the New Haven Register.

The following were the articles:

The new School of Business building opened.

Southern became only the second college or university in Connecticut to participate in Jumpstart, a national program funded by AmeriCorps that seeks to close the achievement gap by connecting college students with classes of preschoolers.

A preview of the elections forum, “Politics and Apple Pie,” would be held on campus on Oct. 24.

    Southern Connecticut State University’s School of Business is now officially open for business.

    The university celebrated a ceremonial opening Friday of the 23,000-square-foot building designated for the school. The facility is a renovated portion of the Old Student Center and includes office space for faculty and staff, two seminar/classrooms and a finance trading/seminar room. It also has start-up space for the Business Success Center, which is being used to coordinate a project to increase the number of business students.

    “After so many years of waiting, Southern now has a first-class home for its business programs, which are among the most in-demand for our students,” said President Mary A. Papazian.

    Business faculty and staff had been using the dilapidated Seabury Hall, which was built in 1956 as a dormitory and is now vacant and scheduled to be demolished soon. Plans call for that area to be used for temporary parking once the building is demolished.

    “Our top priority is always educating students and this building is a first step toward providing a higher-quality business education,” Papazian said. “The next critical step is to acquire an appropriate amount of high-quality classroom space so that our business faculty can provide instruction in a setting that facilitates and inspires deep learning.”

    Papazian was among a variety of speakers that also included Lt. Gov. Nancy S. Wyman; Ellen Durnin, dean of the School of Business; Anthony Rescigno, president of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Pasquale Salemi, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Administrative Services. Other speakers were: Elaine Clark, vice president for Facilities and Infrastructure Planning for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities; Chase Fuller, a junior marketing major; Pamela Hopkins, professor of management and Mark Germain, an alumnus and founder of Beacon Wealth Management LLC of Hackensack, N.J.

    The $6.6 million project has resulted in a three-floor structure with a brick and glass exterior. It has been designated as a LEED-certified silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building, which means that it is highly energy efficient.

    Wyman said the building was another step forward for SCSU and will help students be well-prepared for their careers. Durnin agreed. “Our students are bright, hard working and they challenge and inspire us,” she said.

    The architect for the project was Tecton Architects Inc. of Hartford, and the contractor was Nosal Builders Inc. of Durham.

    The School of Business offers a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with concentrations inaccounting, economics and finance, international business, management and management of information systems, and marketing. It also offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and a Master of Business Administration degree.

      The year 2012 may be viewed as the best of times by some, the worst of times by others. But for the small percentage of individuals who believe in the doomsday predictions associated with the Mayan calendar – it is seen as the end of times.

      The hullabaloo surrounding the latest prediction of the End Times has spurred two Southern faculty members – Marie McDaniel and Jessica Kenty-Drane – to use the hoopla as a teachable moment. The two are offering courses – one this fall and the other in the spring semester – which touch upon this newest myth, but primarily look at the broader phenomenon of apocalyptic predictions in America.

      Some say that the Maya predicted the world would end on Dec. 21, 2012 based on their measurement of time. The Maya – actually a broad collection of Native American populations whose civilization flourished until the middle of the last millennium – inhabited what is today known as southern Mexico and the northern part of Central America.

      Various methods of the earth’s destruction have been mentioned as possibilities, including some sort of cosmic catastrophe. Nevertheless, scientists said that no such event is even remotely in the works and many scholars have said even the Maya did not predict the end of the world.

      “We have a long history of apocalyptic predictions in this country – generally rooted in religion or religious cults,” McDaniel said. She said some of the predictions are borrowed from the Europeans and date back to the Puritans’ settling of America. McDaniel points to the Millerites, and in modern times, the Jonestown tragedy and the Branch Dividians, as examples.

      And while followers of false prophets sometimes encounter horrific, even fatal consequences, Kenty-Drane is also concerned about a growing, more pervasive culture of fear in the United States because of the constant drumbeat of doomsday predictions.

      “Today, you can’t watch TV for very long without listening to some end-of-times narrative,” Kenty-Drane added. “How is this affecting people’s behavior? One of my concerns is that this fear may cause people to turn a blind eye to things that actually can affect their lives.”

      She said the growing fear of vaccines is an example. “Obviously there can be rational reasons for not getting a vaccine – such as a medical condition or an allergic reaction,” Kenty-Drane said. “But not getting a vaccine because of some irrational fear – such as a conspiracy theory associated with the End Times — can actually jeopardize people’s health or lives for no logical reason.”

      She said those types of irrational fears run the risk of becoming more widespread and more quickly as a result of globalization, the Internet and social media.

      McDaniel’s course, being taught this fall, is called “Apocalypse Then: The End Times through History.” It is an online course in which students engage in much historical reading and respond to those readings each week, in lieu of a weekly or bi-weekly lecture. Kenty-Drane’s course, which will be held next spring, is called “Apocalypse Now? Culture of Fear in the U.S.” It will be a traditional lecture and discussion type of course.

      Both say they hope to provide students with the tools needed to analyze what is happening and put things into a proper context. “People tend not to be very good statisticians – putting odds into perspective,” McDaniel said. “We might spend an inordinate amount of time and energy worrying about predictions of doom that are extremely unlikely to occur. Yet, a car accident is far more likely and so many people refuse to wear their seat belt, or are talking or texting on their phone.”

       

        Southern students will work this year with local preschool children from low-income neighborhoods in an effort to bolster their literacy, language and socio-emotional skills.

        SCSU will become only the second college or university in Connecticut to join Jumpstart – a national program funded by AmeriCorps that seeks to close the achievement gap by connecting college students with classes of preschool kids. The Southern students will offer instruction to the children for two hours per day, twice a week, as part of a supplemental program to the preschools’ existing curriculum. Southern’s students are being trained this fall and may be ready to work in the classrooms as early as November or December.

        “This truly is a wonderful opportunity, both for the preschool children and our own students,” said Adam Goldberg, an SCSU associate professor of elementary education who is serving as a liaison to the Jumpstart program. “Studies have shown that the kids who participate in this program show significant gains in their literacy and language skills, and that it also helps with their social skills.

        “And our students – generally those in our teacher training programs – benefit in several ways. They gain valuable, hands-on experience in working with young children; a significant accomplishment to put on their resume, and even a financial reward.”

        Amanda Gryzkewicz, Jumpstart’s site manager for the new Southern program, agreed.

        “I participated in this program as a college student and I can say first-hand that I saw the benefits that this program provided,” she said.

        After graduating from DePaul University with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, Gryzkewicz went on to work as a pre-school teacher in Mequon, Wis. and most recently in Southlake, Texas.

        “I am so excited about the opportunity to be working with Southern’s students, as well as local pre-school teachers and children,” she said. “I really believe this program will be a win-win for everyone.”

        Goldberg said that Southern contacted Jumpstart a few months ago to inquire about participating in the program. “The response was very positive and in a short period of time, we have been able to lay the groundwork.”

        He said that although most of the students participating will probably be those seeking a teaching degree, it is not a requirement.

        Gryzkewicz, who will work out of an office at SCSU, said Jumpstart is working with 12 universities in the tri-state area, serving more than 1,400 children. She will be busy recruiting Southern students in the coming weeks, hoping to attract as many as 35 students. She also noted that college students work more than 300 hours per year in the program, and that after completing those hours, they receive an award of $1,175 to use toward tuition, books or loans. They can earn that amount in succeeding years, as well, if they also work at least 300 hours in those years.

         

        Mary A. Papazian outlined her vision for Southern during her inauguration Sept. 28, held at the university’s John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts. She said she will work to ensure that her university is a highly significant player in the higher education landscape of Connecticut and the region, and will prepare students for a knowledge-based economy in the years ahead.

        “Public universities like Southern must lead the way in showing that what we can accomplish here is vitally important to the future of our society,” Papazian said. “We must make it clear to the public, to the business community, and to the political establishment that investing in an institution like Southern is not only an investment in the students who attend the university, but also by extension, it is an investment in the whole community and – and this isn’t overstating it — in the very future of America.”

        Papazian is the 11th president of the school in its 119-year history. She is the second woman to become president at Southern, following Cheryl J. Norton, who served from 2004 to 2010. She is also believed to be the first Armenian-American woman to lead a U.S. university, according to the Armenian Weekly.

        Lewis J. Robinson Jr., chairman of the state Board of Regents for Higher Education, presided over the ceremony and administered the investiture charge to Papazian. Other speakers included Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3), New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Hamden Mayor Scott P. Jackson.

        Papazian, 53, is an accomplished scholar, particularly with regard to British literature. She has studied and written about John Donne, a metaphysical English poet from the late 16th and early 17th century. She and her husband, Dennis Papazian, have two daughters, Ani and Marie. They reside in Woodbridge.

        “Together, we will work to ensure that Southern continues to develop into an outstanding, comprehensive, public university of significant value to the local community, the state that supports us, and indeed, our nation at large,” Papazian said. “This is a university where we strive to give the students every opportunity to acquire a first-class education with a global vision in an enlightened, compassionate, supportive and diverse environment. And we intend to do more in the future…Together we will work to make Southern the most successful university in its class.”

        Wyman expressed confidence in Papazian’s ability to lead the university, calling her dedicated, hardworking and innovative. “I have no doubt this is just the beginning of a great era for Southern Connecticut State University,” Wyman said.

        Papazian also expressed her desire for Southern to reach out even more to attract out-of-state and international students. She said not only does that help the university financially, but it enriches the social and education experiences of Connecticut students.

        And while much of her message focused on Southern’s role in the public and its commitment to students, she also shared a glimpse into her management style. “This I pledge: I will have an open administration,” she said. “I will provide equitable treatment for all, and I will fulfill without fail all official and unofficial responsibilities. My administration will be evenhanded and predictable.”