Monthly Archives: June 2014

*Armen Marsoobian, chairman of the Philosophy Department, was interviewed on June 28 for an article in Today’s Zaman, a Turkish newspaper, about the Armenian Genocide and the current relationship between Armenians and Turks.

*The New Haven Register ran a feature story June 18 about student Jessica Coppola, who was about to travel to Haiti as part of a charitable group called “SOUND for Haiti.” Jessica, who is studying liberal arts, had traveled to Haiti twice before. She and the others in the group entertained young, poor Haitian children with their musical talents. They also teach them music, play games with them and provide assistance.

*The Hartford Business Journal ran a story June 17 that mentioned Southern as a recipient of an award frm the Hartford-based Power of Change organization, which recognizes agencies for projects that are energy efficiency.

*The Stratford Star, a weekly newspaper, ran a June 11 article on how Psychology Departmentfaculty and students are assisting St. James School in Stratford with identifying and helping grade K-2 students who have difficulty reading. Deborah Carroll, professor of psychology, andCheryl Durwin, assistant chairwoman of the Psychology Department, are coordinating the effort, which will be funded during the 2014-15 school year with a CSU grant. The program includes student interns who work with the young children at St. James School, as well as at Helen Street School in Hamden.

The New Haven Register also ran a story in its June 2 edition.

*Jon Bloch, professor of sociology, was quoted in a June 9 story in The Washington Timesabout a survey that examined religious and marriage infidelity.

*Harbor News, a weekly newspaper affilated with the New London Day and that covers Westbrook, ran a June 4 story about Angela Uihlein, who recently earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The story talks about how Angela battled and overcame childhood leukemia.

    On June 17 at the state Capitol, the university’s School of Business received the prestigious Power of Change Top State Building Award for energy efficiency. Its 2013 energy use shows that the School of Business “sips” energy, performing at an efficiency level that befits its LEED Gold certification.

    Energy analysis of the building shows that even operating on an 81-hour-per-week occupancy schedule, it outperforms energy efficiency standards for a typical code-compliant building of the same size on a 40-hour occupancy schedule by an impressive 29.5 per cent.

    “It is terrific to see that the School of Business energy savings are so substantial and match design performance projections,” says Suzanne Huminski, the university’s sustainability coordinator. “The building was designed to be a state of the art teaching and learning facility, and the green features enhance and protect the health, comfort, and productivity of the people who work there.” Building and operating a LEED building is a collaborative effort, and Huminski credits a large team of people for the achievement, led by Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations; Executive Vice President James Blake; Paul Loescher, director of architectural services; and John Ruggiero, director of facilities engineering; along with facilities staff, the design team, the trades staff who operate the building, and School of Business faculty, for their contributions to the success of the building that led to the receipt of the award.

    Rob Klee, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, addressed the gathering of more than 100 participants with a message that reinforced the importance of energy efficiency, both as a cost saving measure, but also as a key way to reduce carbon emissions. He noted, “The cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use.”

    The School of Business is just one of many examples of the university’s efforts toward sustainability. The Power of Change award follows the university’s recent selection for “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges,” which lists Southern as one of the 332 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada. In 2012, the university placed fourth of 98 schools in the country in reducing its electricity use during the Campus Conservation Nationals, a competition among colleges and universities to reduce energy consumption. Southern is a charter signatory to theAmerican College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which calls for schools to bolster their conservation efforts in pursuit of eventual carbon neutrality. The campus recently converted to LED lighting in campus garages and gymnasiums, and has an extensive recycling program – 28 per cent of the institution’s overall waste stream – that includes single-stream materials, fluorescent lights, batteries, e-waste, construction materials, metal, mattresses, and more. The university also purchases graduation caps and gowns made from recycled plastic bottles and has reduced pollutants by 50 percent in the campus Energy Center.

    Sedentary folks who begin a moderate-intensity physical activity program between the ages of 70 and 89 are more likely to maintain their mobility in the years ahead than those who stay inactive.

    That was among the major conclusions of a national study that included the work of faculty and students from Southern. The research was conducted between February 2010 and December 2013, and the results were published online May 27 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    A total of 1,635 people participated in the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders study with individuals divided into two groups – one which engaged in a physical activity program and another that did not, though they participated in a health education program.

    Of the 1,635 adults, about 100 engaged in a physical activity program at Southern. Sites were chosen across the nation. SCSU was tapped by the Yale School of Medicine as a site location and for its assistance in administering the program.

    Those participating in the study generally engaged in 10 to 30 minutes of walking for three to six days a week; 10 minutes of strength training for three days a week; balance training and stretching exercises.

    The study showed that those in the regular exercise program were 18 percent less likely than those in the health education program to lose their mobility – defined as being unable to walk 400 meters on any given day without assistance. And regular exercise participants were 28 percent less likely to suffer from a persistent mobility disability — defined as being unable to walk 400 meters independently on two or more occasions.

    “This is truly groundbreaking research that will affect the ability of communities to assist older individuals to remain independent,” said Robert Axtell, SCSU professor of exercise science and co-principal investigator of the study.

    He said that is particularly important because reduced mobility is considered a risk factor for disability, as well as hospitalization and death.

    “I am very proud of our exercise science students who assisted with the physical activity component of the study.”

    In particular, Axtell thanked three individuals who coordinated the day-to-day activity sessions at Southern: Maria Zenoni, who began working on the study as a graduate student in the SCSU exercise science degree program and later completed it as a full-time researcher hired by Yale; and SCSU alums Lynne Iannone and Julie Bugaj.

    The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Aging.

    “To our knowledge, there hasn’t been a definitive study that looks at whether physical activity prevents or delays mobility disability in older, previously sedentary adults,” Axtell said. “Our hypothesis is that it would help, but nobody has really looked at the effects over a sustained length of time, which in our case was over a period of nearly 4 years.”

    About 23.9 million people in the United States had difficulty walking a quarter of a mile in 2010, including 13.1 million who could not perform this activity, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And 39 percent of the 65 years and older population had difficult with ambulatory activities.

    Dr. Thomas Gill of the Yale School of Medicine served as the lead investigator for that school. The University of Florida, Gainesville, coordinated the study that also included: Northwestern University in Chicago; Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.; Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.; Tufts University in Boston; the University of Pittsburgh and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

      Event planners who would like to advance their careers into the management realm can give themselves a significant boost with a new Master of Science degree program in sport and entertainment management offered at Southern.

      And since many in the field are already working long hours – sometimes at night and on weekends – the 36-credit program will be entirely online.

      Jim MacGregor, chairman of the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department, says there appears to be an increased demand for such programs – especially in the Northeast. “Our location in between Boston and New York – a hotbed for sports and entertainment – is ideal,” he said. “We will be one of only a handful of universities across the country to offer a graduate degree in this discipline.”

      Students will complete an 18-credit core and then choose 6 credits from either the sport or entertainment option. They will also take 6 credits in the Master of Business Administration program, as well as a 6-credit capstone, which could be either a thesis or internship with a special project.

      The program will feature many new “core courses,” among them:

      • Sport and Entertainment Finance
      • Sport & Entertainment Law
      • Marketing and Sales in Sport and Entertainment
      • Global Issues in Sport and Entertainment
      • Facility and Event Management

      Careers in sport management include such jobs as venue managers, marketing and sales staff, recreational sport directors, higher education recreation/student affairs managers, public relations specialists, human resource managers and finance managers.

      MacGregor said careers in entertainment management include jobs with artist or event management companies, talent booking agencies, marketing and merchandising firms, promotional companies, public relations firms, performing arts centers and cultural heritage sites and museums.

      The program will include full-time faculty, as well as Donna Lopiano, founder and president of Sports Management Resources, former chief executive officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation and former director of women’s athletics at the University of Texas; and Constance Zotos, an associate professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, and former director of athletics at several colleges and universities.

      For additional information contact Lee deLisle, program coordinator, at (203) 392-7159.

      The volunteer work of two Southern students will be music to the ears of many Haitian children this summer.

      Jessica Coppola and Allyson Kaechele will make a return trip to Haiti from June 21 to July 5 as part of “Sound for Haiti,” a group dedicated to helping orphans and street children of that Caribbean nation.

      Members of the organization teach music to the youngsters, as well as help feed, play with and otherwise care for them. Among the activities in which they engage with the children are interactive Creole songs and games.

      Sound for Haiti made its first journey to Haiti last June, and the group returned in February. “The (February) trip was special because you could see progress from when we went there the previous summer,” Coppola says.

      Sound for Haiti members volunteer primarily at the Haitian Interdenominational Shelter Home for Children (HIS Home), an organization intending to rescue children from spiritual and physical poverty.

      Coppola says her experience in Haiti was an emotional one, particularly when she learned that Julian, a 5-year-old girl from HIS Home, was being adopted.

      “I loved Julian from the moment that I met her last (June), and I was just so taken by her,” Coppola says. “She seemed sad, though, like something was missing. When I saw her this time she was so happy about being adopted. It was amazing.”

      Kaechele says her most memorable moment was feeding rice and beans to a lively group of babies in the “infant room” at HIS Home.

      “There were about 15 of them sitting on the floor,” Kaechele says. “Some were crying, others were stealing food from the babies next to them – it was chaotic and you could tell the caretaker was really grateful for our help.”

      Sound for Haiti is a division of Sound Affect, an a capella group that also performs charitable works. It was founded by Carol Taubl with the slogan, “Affect the World with the Arts.” Among its activities are singing at homeless shelters and assisted living communities, and contributing to feeding projects at local food pantries in the New Haven area. Taubl created Sound for Haiti shortly after she became close friends with June Williams and her family, which lived in Haiti for several years.

      Coppola and Kaechele became friends while attending Educational Center for the Arts (ECA), a performing arts school in New Haven. Students at ECA also attend their respective high schools.

      With an inclination for music and an altruistic drive, the two joined Sound Affect and Sound for Haiti after graduating. Kaechele, who began playing the cello and participating in various mission projects when she was in middle school, says she feels that philanthropic work is her “calling.” Coppola, who started taking voice lessons at age 8, says her spark for humanitarian work began after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “I was so moved by the whole ordeal – my first instinct was to help,” she says.

      Both students are undecided about a major, but feel drawn to charitable fieldwork.

      World Vision, one of the biggest relief and development organizations in the world, supports and provides transportation and lodging for Sound for Haiti.

      The volunteers are responsible for other necessities — including a $1,000 cover fee, plane tickets, food, medicine and sheet music to hand out to the children. The members have done personal fundraising for their trips, and the group has acquired donations by singing at churches and hosting concerts, barn dances and silent auctions.

      The rigor of the undergraduate college selection/admission process is well-known.

      But if you ask people to explain what it takes to select and be admitted to graduate school, you are likely to get a sea of blank stares. After all, even in well-educated Connecticut, only about 16 percent of the population attains a graduate or professional degree.

      Applying to graduate school -- and finding the right program -- is often more time consuming and involved than people think.
      Applying to graduate school — and finding the right program — is often more time consuming and involved than people think.

      “Many students do not consider graduate school as an option until their last year of undergraduate study. This leaves students with only one semester in many cases to prepare the application for graduate school,” says Shirley Jackson, graduate coordinator for the Sociology Department at Southern. She recently presented a workshop called “Everything You Need to Know About Applying to Graduate School Workshop.”

      Today, Wise Words begins a 3-part series on navigating the graduate school process for the first time. Jackson offers her recommendations in each post.

      Part I:

      The first thing that a potential student should consider is whether they should go to grad school, and if so, why. She says while people are familiar with the sometimes painstaking process of getting into the undergraduate program of their choice, choosing and applying to graduate schools also requires time and attention.

      “The process of applying to graduate school should not be taken lightly,” Jackson says. “It involves a lot of work. You should spend time researching programs of study, universities, faculty and funding opportunities. Information is readily available via the Internet, through bookstores and your department.”

      She suggests that prospective graduate students contact the schools that they are most interested in, as well as ask those schools about the possibility of talking with graduate students currently in the program.

      Jackson recommends reading “Best Graduate Schools” in U.S. News & World Report to get an idea of the strength of a school’s program. She also says this U.S. News link offers valuable information for potential grad school applicants:

      Jackson notes that competition can be more intense at the graduate level than at the undergraduate level. “A much smaller number of students are admitted into graduate programs,” she says. “You are in competition with students from all over the state, nation and/or the world.”

      As a result of the competition, Jackson offers two handy suggestions:

      *When considering graduate school or professional school, do not limit yourself to applying to one school. You should apply to as many schools as you can afford and reasonably expect to be a successful candidate for admissions.

      *Familiarize yourself with the requirements for admission and then work to go beyond these minimum requirements to increase your chances for admission.

      (Southern’s School of Graduate Studies is holding its spring open house from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 23, at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Several new program offerings will be showcased.)

      Coming soon:

      Part II — A look at the graduate school essay, admissions tests and letters of recommendation

        Storytelling has always been with us, and the exchange of personal stories can open doors of communication. To harness this power, global organizationNarrative 4 (N4) aims to promote “radical empathy” through story exchanges, a process that can break down barriers and shatter stereotypes.

        On Sunday, June 29, three of the world’s most influential author/activists will take the Lyman Center stage to discuss N4, which they helped found just over a year ago. “The Narrative 4 Story” – a discussion among writers Ishmael Beah (left), Colum McCann (below right) and Terry Tempest Williams (below left), moderated by Narrative 4 Executive Director Lisa Consiglio and Newtown High School and SCSU teacher and alumnus Lee Keylock— will take place at 2 p.m. in Lyman Center.

        Working closely with students, educators, artists and community leaders, N4 pairs high school students from different parts of the world and encourages them to walk in each other’s shoes by sharing their personal stories with each other. In less than a year, the organization has planned and conducted such story exchanges around the world, engaging nearly 1,000 participants.

        N4 teaches that stories are a key to better understanding one’s neighbors, society and each other. The program’s effectiveness has drawn the attention of the national press, including The New York Times, which has written about it twice in the past year:  “Colum McCann’s Radical Empathy” and “The Tale of Two Schools.”

        Beah, McCann and Williams are committed to helping N4 expand its reach. Beah is a Sierra Leonean author and human rights activist who rose to fame with his acclaimed memoir, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.” An Irish writer of literary fiction, McCann’s works include the National Book Award-winning novel“Let the Great World Spin.” Williams, an American author, conservationist and activist whose writing is rooted in the American West, is the author of “Finding Beauty in a Broken World,” among other works.

        The event is sponsored by the President’s Office, the School of Arts and Sciences, the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program, and the Office of Public Affairs. It is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.
        For further information, call 
(203) 392-6154 or visit 
Tickets.SouthernCT.edu.

         

        FINDING HOPE THROUGH STORIES

        A graduate of Southern’s MFA program in creative writing, an instructor in the English Department and a high school English teacher in Newtown, Lee Keylock’s professional life is all about stories, language and narrative, and teaching students to harness and use their power.

        After the Sandy Hook shootings in December 2012, on a day when he was teaching his classes at Newtown High School, Keylock, like so many who were close to the event, felt powerless to help his students. He began to search for ways to help them cope with the immense grief they were dealing with, and naturally, he turned to literature. A novel crossed his path — “Let the Great World Spin” by the Irish writer Colum McCann — and Keylock thought this might just be a book that could offer his students some hope. The New York Times has called the novel “the greatest novel to come out of the World Trade Center attacks.” Yet Keylock says the book ultimately offers a vision of redemption.

        Keylock wrote to McCann, asking for his help. In return, McCann sent Keylock copies of the book for his students and offered to come to Newtown to meet with them. In his meetings with students, McCann listened to their stories, but also told them some of his own, and he talked to them about an organization he had just helped found, called Narrative4 (N4).

        He explained to them that N4 is based on story exchanges: it connects groups of students from different parts of the country and the world, and then pairs students within the groups to exchange personal stories one on one. Each person must then retell their partner’s story back to the group. The stories can range from accounts of losing a parent to cancer or a friend to gang violence, to tales of first love. Some of the meetings take place in person, while many take place on Google hangouts because of distance.

        After McCann’s visit, Keylock was inspired to become involved with N4 and eventually became one of the organization’s lead educational advisers. He wanted to try an N4 story exchange with his own students. The organization was very new; the first exchange took place in Chicago in March 2013.

        The idea behind N4 is “to promote empathy through the exchange of stories” and “break down barriers and shatter stereotypes” by encouraging participants to see the world through each other’s eyes. Keylock says, “It’s easy to become cynical in today’s world. Narrative 4 is fostering a sense of hope. It is an authentic experience that makes kids feel heard and relevant.”

        In January, Keylock implemented exchanges with 180 students in four classrooms at Newtown High School, and he and his colleagues introduced the first official curriculum model in the classroom. In March, he and a teacher from Chicago’s Crane High School connected 12 students from the west side of Chicago with 12 students from Newtown.

        Keylock says that “kids find out they have the same hopes and fears,” no matter where they come from in the world. The process is very powerful, he says, and students often keep in touch with each other after going through it and become “ambassadors” for the program. N4 describes itself as teaching “radical empathy,” and certainly, as Keylock describes it, taking part in an N4 exchange can do just that.

        Because it can be so cathartic, Keylock says, teachers do follow-up activities with their students. “We are working on ‘sustainability’ as we speak, finding authentic ways for students to stay involved and feel relevant after the exchanges are complete,” he explains. He gives his own students questions to respond to in writing following an N4 exchange, encouraging them to talk about how the experience made them feel and what it taught them.

        Keylock recently made the difficult decision to leave his teaching position at Newtown to work for N4 in curriculum development. He says while he will miss teaching and his students, he believes in the N4 objectives and adds, “I can help a lot more people this way.”

        As students approach the end of the school year/semester, you can sense the anticipatory joy that fills the school hallways and classrooms. But this time of year also often brings with it the anxiety of finishing term papers and theses.

        Trying to write an “A” or “B” paper can be challenging enough, but figuring out what to footnote and what not to footnote can be a tedious, even painstaking process. Yet, it’s a crucial component of the writing process if you want to avoid plagiarism, an academic cardinal sin that can derail a person’s college career.

        It is better to err on the side of citing, rather than not citing, information on an academic paper to guard against plagiarism.
        It is better to err on the side of citing, rather than not citing, information on an academic paper to guard against plagiarism.

        Wendy Hardenberg, instruction coordinator at Southern’s Buley Library who also teaches a freshman Inquiry class, says a surprising number of students don’t have a clear understanding of what plagiarism is when they first get to college. As a result, some students actually commit plagiarism accidentally.

        “It’s still bad even if you didn’t mean to do it,” she says. “In fact, consequences of plagiarism can range from getting a poor grade on an assignment to failing a class outright.”

        And the consequences don’t always end with your academic career. “You can actually lose a high-profile job years in the future because someone finds that you plagiarized your dissertation,” Hardenberg says.

        “Plagiarism basically means presenting someone else’s ideas and/or writing as your own,” she says. “If you found something somewhere else, you have to tell your reader!”

        Hardenberg offers a few clarifications and tips on avoiding plagiarism:

        *Cutting and pasting a quote from someone is fine — as long as you put their words in quotation marks and indicate where you found the quote.

        *You can paraphrase instead of quoting directly, but paraphrasing also has to be cited. And paraphrasing does not mean just changing a few words. If you find yourself only changing a few words, you might well be better off using a direct quote.

        *Remember, if you can Google the quote, your professor can, too. And many professors have lots of experience checking on whether quotes or parts of a paper were “lifted” from another source without attribution. This is especially true in this era of electronic media.

        *Copyright infringement and plagiarism are not the same thing. Copyright infringement is a legal issue, while plagiarism is an academic honesty problem.

        *When in doubt, cite it!

        (Incidentally, Hardenberg recently competed on Jeopardy!, where she placed a close 2nd to a defending champion who had been victorious on 20 consecutive shows. Check out an article that appeared in the New Haven Register before the show aired on May 30.)