Monthly Archives: March 2014

*President Mary Papazian was interviewed in the March 27 edition of the New Haven Register about Southern’s new downtown presence, “Southern in the Green.”

*Rafael Hernandez, professor of Spanish and Portuguese, was quoted in a March 27 story in the Meriden Record-Journal about the debate as to whether individuals from Portugal, or of Portuguese heritage, are considered Latino.

*Greg Adams, chairman of the Sociology Department, was interviewed March 7 on WTICradio’s morning show (1080 AM) regarding the situation in Ukraine (no link available). He is one of the panelists for the March 31 SCSU forum, “Crisis in Ukraine” What Happened and What’s Next?”

*An article about the university’s “Southern on the Green” initiative — which involves leasing the 10th floor of the 900 Chapel Street building from the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce — was posted March 6 on the New Haven Register’s website. The space will be used for fundraising, classes and customer service purposes.

*Frank Tavares, professor of communication, was interviewed on March 6 by WUTC, a Chattanooga, Tenn. radio station, about his career that has included his faculty position at Southern, the former “voice” of National Public Radio and as an author.

*President Mary Papazian was quoted in a March 5 New Haven Register  story pertaining to a visit by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to the Whitney Center in Hamden. The president spoke about the governor’s proposed Transform CSCU 2020 program that would infuse $134 million into the ConnSCU schools next year.

*The Waterbury Republican-American ran a March 2 story about a recent book of short stories written by Frank Tavares, professor of communication. The book is called, “The Man Who Built Boxes.”

*A talk at Southern by Jared Bernstein, former chief economist and economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, was covered in a March 1 story in the New Haven Register. As one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), he discussed that topic during the event.

The Owls had a big weekend in swimming, track and field, and basketball. Congratulations to Raymond Cswerko, Nick Lebron, and men’s basketball!


GENEVA, Ohio  – Southern Connecticut State University swimmer Raymond Cswerko (Torrington, Conn.), touched the wall first in the 200 fly on Friday evening at the NCAA Division II Championships. Cswerko led the field by nearly a full second (1:46.25) to capture his first NCAA individual title. The effort came roughly 24 hours after he finished as the NCAA runner-up in the 400 individual medley.

In four races at this year’s Championships, Cswerko secured one first place, one second place and one fifth place (200 IM) finish.

The national title was the 77th individual crown in SCSU history. Cswerko was the lone representative at the nationals from the Northeast-10 Conference.

Read more here


WINSTON SALEM, N.C. – For the second time in three years, Nick Lebron (Newington, Conn.) has captured the NCAA Championship in the heptathlon. After winning the crown in 2012 and also earning All-America honors last year, Lebron claimed this year’s title with a new NCAA Division II record score of 5,765 points.

Lebron sealed up the title on Saturday with first place finishes in the 60 hurdles and 1000 meters, along with a fourth place showing in the pole vault. He was also in first place after day one.

Read more here

SWEET 16! Owls Advance to East Regional Final Tuesday

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A Tylon Smith (Manchester, Conn.) floater with 2.4 seconds left gave the No. 2/4 Southern Connecticut State University men’s basketball team a 79-77 victory over Franklin Pierce in the NCAA second round game. The win puts the Owls into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996-97.

Smith scored four of his team-high 21 points in the final minute. The junior also distributed eight assists and grabbed five rebounds.

Down a bucket with less than 60 seconds to go, Luke Houston (Pearl River, N.Y.) and Smith combined to knot things up. Houston forced Franklin Pierce freshman Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) into making a telegraphed cross-court pass, which was anticipated and stolen by Smith.

The Ravens’ freshman was able to get back on the play, stuffing the layup by the Owls’ point guard. However, Houston, hustling all the way, had the put back to send Moore Field House into euphoria.

For the contest, Houston grabbed 12 rebounds and scored nine points.Michael Mallory (Waterbury, Conn.) added 17 points, while Deshawn Murphy (Hamden, Conn.) tossed in 10 for the home team, which scored the game’s final six points. Greg Langston (Stratford, Conn.) scored eight points to move into third place on the Owls’ career scoring chart (1,856 points).

Southern Connecticut, which led 45-39 at the half, set a school-record with its 29th victory of the season.

With the victory, the Owls, 29-2, face Saint Anselm (22-7), the No. 3 seed, in the East Regional Final Tuesday night. Presale tickets for tomorrow’s game will take place at the field house box office from 5-8 pm today (Monday, March 17).

Read more here

For a look at some practical applications of everyone’s favorite irrational number, check out a previous post in Wise Words.

Enjoy a slice of pie.
Enjoy a slice of pie.

It’s hard not to like pi!

    Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, whom the New York Times called “the most popular poet in America,” will give a reading at Southern Connecticut State University on Wed., April 9, at 7:15 p.m. The reading, which will take place in the Charles Garner Recital Hall (Engleman C112), is free and open to the public. It will be followed by an audience Q&A and a booksigning.

    Collins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, and he is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library “Literary Lion.” His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. His readings are usually standing room only, and his audience – enhanced tremendously by his appearances on National Public Radio – includes people of all backgrounds and age groups.

    Collins has published 10 collections of poetry and two chapbooks; edited two anthologies of contemporary poetry — Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day; was the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2006; and edited Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds, with paintings by David Allen Sibley. His most recent book is Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems 2003-2013.

    Included among the honors Collins has received are fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry. In April 2013, he was selected as the fourth winner of the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry.

    In June 2001, Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003. In January 2004, he was named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-06. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York, as well as a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College.

    Collins’ visit to SCSU is co-sponsored by the university’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. For more information, call (203) 392-6589.

      Individuals interested in making a career change to accounting will be able to take a major step toward that goal with a new program being offered at Southern.

      The certificate in accounting program, scheduled to begin at the start of the fall 2014 semester, is designed for college graduates who have a degree in a discipline other than accounting. Students will take eight required courses in undergraduate accounting for a total of 27 credits. Admission to the program requires a minimum GPA of 2.3 at the undergraduate level, along with a bachelor’s degree.

      “The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a highly regarded, dynamic and lucrative profession,” says Janet Phillips, chairwoman of the Accounting Department. “There is tremendous demand for CPAs both because employment opportunities for accountants and auditors are anticipated to grow rapidly, and because of the expected exodus of soon-to-be-retired CPAs. The new certificate program is an excellent avenue to aid in the pursuit of joining the accounting profession as a second career.”

      A 2012 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13.1-percent growth between 2012 and 2022 for accountants and auditors. The national median annual salary for an accountant in May 2012 was $63,550.

      Phillips says the program is geared toward two populations of students already holding undergraduate degrees; those with a non-accounting, business degree (such as marketing, management or finance), and those with a degree in a non-business field.

      “Students who have an undergraduate accounting degree and are looking to advance their education would be better served by the MBA program with a concentration in accounting,” she says.

      Phillips notes that becoming a licensed CPA is a multi-step process. First, individuals must meet the minimum education requirements to take the exam. The certificate in accounting will enable them to do so provided that they also have 22 credits in general business courses outside of accounting. Second, students must pass the CPA exam. Third, students must gain two years of experience working full time for a CPA, as well as having accumulated at least 36 credits in accounting; 30 credits in general business courses and a total of 150 overall credits. Individuals also must pass a self-study ethics course in Connecticut.

      The exam for CPAs in Connecticut includes four sections – auditing and attestation; financial accounting and reporting; regulation, and business environment and concepts.

      “The new SCSU certificate of accounting program is a practical, accessible and affordable means to begin meeting qualifications to become a Connecticut CPA,” Phillips says. “The certificate is evidence of the SCSU School of Business’s commitment to meeting the needs of the state workforce and emerging economy.”

      For further information about the program, call the Accounting Department at (203) 392-5691.

      Those of us “of a certain age” can probably recall our English teachers – at least one stickler on proper grammar – telling us not to end a sentence with a preposition. Similarly, split infinitives – a verb phrase in which the word “to” is separated from the action word – were to be avoided at all costs.

      Some grammatical rules of writing, once considered non-negotiable, are being questioned and de-emphasized more often today.
      Some grammatical rules of writing, once considered non-negotiable, are being questioned and de-emphasized more often today.

      Sure, you might be able to get away with breaking the rules a bit in a science report. Even a social studies teacher might let it slide. But the following sentences in an English class would likely merit you with some “red ink” on your essay.

      • Nobody knew where the marchers were from.
      • That is what it was all about.
      • We are planning to gradually improve our grades.
      • They decided to fully implement the system.

      As students, we were inclined to accept these rules as “grammatical gospel.” But do you know who established those rules? And why can’t we end a sentence with a preposition or use a split infinitive?

      Dina Brun, an adjunct faculty member at Southern in the Department of World Languages and Literatures and who teaches Introduction to Linguistics, says the history of these rules dates back to the 17th century. She says Joshua Poole, a grammarian and rhetorician, and John Dryden, a literary writer and poet, have largely been credited with the preposition rule. Dryden was also associated with the split infinitive rule.

      “These two individuals, and others, wanted to make English more like Latin,” Brun says. “In Latin, an infinitive is a single word, so there is no split.”

      For example, she points to the Latin word, “clamare,” which means to claim, and “habere,” which means to have. The “re” part of the word is the English equivalent of “to.”

      Brun says the rules have been getting much more relaxed in recent years. “It’s been a gradual process throughout the 20th century to the point where today, ending a sentence with a preposition is pretty much accepted,” she says. “The same is true of the split infinitive.”

      And Brun said that is not necessarily a bad thing. She points out that when sentences are constructed intentionally to avoid ending in a preposition, it can lead to some awkward constructions.

      For example: This is the book I told you about. To comply with the old rule, it would need to be changed to something like: This is the book about which I told you.

      The same is true with the “no split infinitives” rule. For example: “We need your help to fully implement the process” would have to be changed to: “We need your help to implement fully the process.” The latter just doesn’t sound right.

      Brun says that before the 17th century, there really was no such rule. She notes that even great literary geniuses, such as Shakespeare, ended sentences with prepositions.

      Other language rules also are beginning to change. Brun notes that the differentiation between “who” and “whom” is beginning to wane. She says that people are beginning to drop “whom” and replace it with “who.”

      Before long, we may be writing letters “To Who it May Concern.”

      English teachers and writing coaches, what do you think? Is this progress or regression?

      The higher prevalence of hypertension among African-American women compared with white women is well-documented. Diet and quality of health care have often been identified as likely culprits.

      And while they are almost certainly contributing factors to that health disparity, a new Southern study shows evidence of a deeper, physiological factor that appears to be responsible, at least in part, for the difference.

      Among young, sedentary women with normal blood pressure readings — the baroreflex, responsible for the body’s ability to stabilize its blood pressure when elevated — appears to be generally less sensitive in young black women than in their white female peers, according to the study led by Peter Latchman, assistant professor of exercise science. The research shows the baroreflex among the African-American women participating in the test to be 66 percent lower than in the white women tested.

      Conversely, sympathetic sensitivity – commonly known as the “fight or flight” response (which raises blood pressure) – is greater among the black women. The study shows that their scores are almost twice as high as white women on this aspect of the testing.

      “What we found is that the body’s ability to regulate a stable blood pressure was not as strong in young African-American women as it was in young white women,” Latchman says. “In effect, these young black women were already showing very early signs of pre-hypertension that were not yet measurable with the standard sphygmomanometer (blood pressure machine).”

      The research compares a group of nearly two dozen healthy white women of college age with an almost identical number of healthy black women of the same age. The women are also comparable in health and BMI. While healthy and not having hypertension based on traditional measuring devices, all of the women are living a generally sedentary lifestyle in terms of exercise.

      The study was published in the August 2013 edition of the journal, “Clinical Autonomic Research.” Latchman was joined in the research by Robert Axtell, graduate coordinator of the Exercise Science Department; Jason Pereira, who was then an SCSU graduate fellow; Gregory Gates of Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in the Bronx; Matthew Bartels of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine of Columbia University, and Ronald Edmond DeMeersman of the College of Medicine at Alfaisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

      Latchman says he hopes the research will enable scientists and the medical community to conduct further studies on this subject and help develop earlier methods of controlling blood pressure in African-American women, before a diagnosis of hypertension or pre-hypertension.

      “The mechanisms explaining these differences remain elusive, but future studies examining baroreflex under stressful conditions may provide additional insight into these different responses,” he says.

      In fact, Latchman already has begun exploring the role of exercise in preventing these very early signs of prehypertension in young black women. That research, while still in process, shows that young, active black women who engage in regular physical activity do not exhibit these same signs, which can set the stage for prehypertension or hypertension. In effect, their results are the same as white women who also participate in regular physical activity.

      “That would seem to indicate that exercise among African-American women at a young age could prevent, or at least delay, the start of hypertension,” he says. “While this is also true among young, white women, it is even more crucial among young black women because of a predisposition toward high blood pressure.”

      Latchman adds that this test helps to shed some new light on the seeds of hypertension, especially among African-American women. He said he is unaware of any other research comparing the baroreflex and sympathetic sensitivity of young black and white women who have normal blood pressure readings.

        Students wishing to apply to Southern will find the process to be a snap starting next year.

        The university has been accepted into the Common Application membership association – a not-for-profit organization that aims to streamline the applications process for prospective college students. As a result, Southern will accept what is popularly known as the “Common App” – a uniform application used by more than 500 colleges and universities throughout the United States, as well as other several other countries.

        Students who apply to Southern for the fall semester of 2015 (starting this fall) will be able to submit this standard application – a change that will save students the time to fill out a separate form, according to Kimberly Crone, associate vice president for enrollment management. The Common App makes it more likely that students who are considering Southern as one of several options will actually submit the paperwork needed to apply.

        “Generally, schools that use the Common App see an increase of between 10 and 30 percent in their applicant pool,” Crone says. “This is especially valuable at a time of declining high school enrollments. The Common App also is likely to increase the geographic diversity of our applicants.”

        But Crone says while the Common App should bolster the number of applications, the university is also developing a strategy to convert the increased number of applicants into higher yield rates and increased enrollment.

        Alexis Haakonsen, director of admissions, agrees.

        “We are developing a comprehensive plan to communicate with students at every stage of the admissions process, continuing the very successful on-campus events for which Southern is well known, and involving the faculty and our alumni in the yield process,” Haakonsen explains.

        The university coordinates various events during the year, such as open houses, orientation sessions and programs aimed at high school students.

        “It’s all about making connections with students, whether it’s by their academic interests, a student organization, a faculty mentor, sports, activities or on-campus living,” she adds. “I want to see every incoming student connected to Southern in a direct and personal way as they transition into our community.”

        During the 2012-13 school year, 723,576 individuals used the Common App, according to the association’s website. Most of those were generated within the United States, from 47 states and the Washington, D.C., though a small number were from outside the nation. That total represents a 9.2-percent increase from the previous year. During the four-year period from 2008-09 to 2012-13, an increase of 74.9 percent has been recorded.

        Regionally, New England schools generated the highest number of applicants in America from at 5.4 per individual. Schools in other U.S. regions recorded averages ranging from 3.6 to 5.2 a person.

          Southern has begun a targeted marketing campaign of several programs as part of an effort to increase university enrollment.

          With the number of high school graduates declining each year, higher education institutions across the nation are being challenged to maintain their enrollment levels. The university is seeking to create and bolster academic programs that show promise of significant student enrollment and growth.

          “We have so many excellent programs at Southern, but we have chosen several that we believe have the best potential to grow significantly in numbers over the next several years,” says Marianne Kennedy, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

          Among the newly created programs in the spotlight are: an accelerated Master of Business Administration degree; a certificate in accounting and a B.S. and B.A. degree programs in interdisciplinary studies. The existing programs that are being highlighted are Master of Science degrees in computer science, exercise science and applied physics, which are all being reinvigorated to boost enrollment.

          The accelerated M.B.A. is designed for the hardworking professional seeking to advance their careers. Students can earn their degree in 17 months through a combination of Saturday and online courses.

          The certificate in accounting is designed for individuals who are seeking to become a Certified Public Accountant. The certificate is a major stepping stone toward being eligible to take the CPA exam.

          The B.S./B.A. in interdisciplinary studies offers students an alternative to a traditional major, enabling them to design their own program of study. This flexibility allows them to tailor their coursework in distinctive directions. The B.A. combines two concentrations, such as environmental studies/marine studies, media studies/ethnic studies or criminal justice/forensic science. The B.S. combines three concentrations, such as public health/sociology/biology or Spanish/Latin American studies/political science.

          The M.S. in computer science has been restructured so that its emphasis is on two tracks – cybersecurity and software development – to better reflect trends in that field. The M.S. in exercise science has two available concentrations – human performance and sports psychology. The human performance concentration includes assessment of cardio-pulmonary fitness, body composition and muscle/joint strength and stability and biomechanical analysis. The sports psychology concentration includes an in-depth study of health psychology, performance enhancement and intervention.

          The M.S. applied physics has two tracks – materials science/nanotechnology and optics/optical instrumentation – and is intended for individuals seeking applied research and management positions in the high-tech industry. In turn, that would help develop the state’s workforce.

          President Mary A. Papazian has offered her thanks for the faculty who have devised and implemented these programs.

          “If this new marketing approach is successful, as we believe it will be, it will not only boost our enrollment, but provide a template for future academic programming by departments campus wide,” she says.