Yearly Archives: 2016

The presidential campaign season is in full swing, with candidates traveling around the country meeting voters, debating each other on television, and competing in caucuses and primaries. Meanwhile, the political pundits provide a steady stream of commentary and speculation on campaign discourse and activities. Among the commentators on the political battlefield are satirists, the critical voices that draw attention to statements that may not be entirely truthful and behaviors that may not be entirely scrupulous. Charlene Dellinger-Pate, associate professor of media studies, says that with political discourse “more bizarre than ever” these days, the goal of those who satirize this discourse is to show that there is no substance, that it is all performance. “We need satire to see what is behind the performance,” Dellinger-Pate says.

She teaches courses on television and media theory, and after teaching a special topics course on “The Simpsons” several years ago, she went on to design a course on TV and comedy that led her to develop an interest in political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Now she is teaching a course called “Political Satire and New Media” and has turned her scholarly attention to this form of satire.

When it comes to satirizing political discourse, Stewart in particular broke new ground on his news parody show, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” A longtime “Daily Show” reporter and spin-off, Colbert, with his “Colbert Report,” was just one of several people who got their start as satirists on “The Daily Show,” Dellinger-Pate points out, naming Samantha Bee, Steve Carell, Mo Rocca, Ed Helms, and John Oliver among “Daily Show” alumni.

Dellinger-Pate sees two important moments on the landscape of contemporary American political satire. In 2002, when Stewart took over from Craig Kilborn on “The Daily Show,” he began to give the show more of a political focus than it had had. Then in 2004, Stewart appeared on CNN’s “Crossfire” with Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson and called them both hacks, telling them, “You’re hurting America” by sensationalizing debates and enabling political spin. He called their show “theater” and described it as dishonest. Two weeks later, “Crossfire” was cancelled, and, Dellinger-Pate says, “the network didn’t make a connection [to Stewart’s remarks], but satirists and the public did.” The “Crossfire” interview went viral, she says, and solidified Stewart as a political satirist and critic of punditry.

Since 2004, this was what Stewart did on “The Daily Show”: he looked to what the pundits were saying and pointed out what was wrong with it. He began to focus on “the hypocrisy or the lunacy of what is being said,” says Dellinger-Pate, by “disingenuous and lying pundits.” His show poked fun at cable news, his commentary always with an undercurrent of satire.

A turning point for Colbert’s brand of satire happened after he got his own show in 2005. In 2006 he was invited to speak at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C., and he parodied conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly. “It was a brave moment,” says Dellinger-Pate. “He aggressively satirized President Bush and members of the media at the dinner, and no one laughed.” The next morning, she says, “Good Morning America” didn’t even mention that he was there, although “the blogosphere lit up about him.” Dellinger-Pate says that on “The Colbert Report,” Colbert went after the divisive ideological politics of the post-9-11 era. “There are no venues for satirizing these politics,” she says, adding, “Colbert did it by pretending to be one of them.” Colbert’s style on his show was to play more interactively with the political process than Stewart did, Dellinger-Pate says. “Colbert is like the classic Elizabethan court jester,” while Stewart stayed more removed.

Regardless of their individual styles, satirists are more crucial now than ever, says Dellinger-Pate. “The world of punditry scares me,” she says. “We talk about the Limbaughs, Hannitys, and O’Reillys – they have a demographic, and these folks vote. But there is no informed political discourse – no informed debate – in punditry. So much information is presented as true, with so much money behind it. Without the satirists, there’s a perfect recipe for disaster.”

The university has entered into an exciting partnership with The Elm Shakespeare Company (ESC) that promises to bring new energy to the Theatre Department and the entire university community.

The Elm Shakespeare Company, recognized as the premiere Shakespeare company in Connecticut and one of the very best in New England, has been offering free professional outdoor Shakespeare performances in New Haven for 20 years. Southern and Elm Shakespeare recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that brings Elm Shakespeare onto campus and integrates it into Theatre Department activities and facilities.

Under the MOU, ESC is officially “in residence” at Southern Connecticut State University. For two decades, ESC has rehearsed its actors and built the sets for its productions at Lyman Center; the MOU formalizes this relationship. As part of the agreement, ESC will reserve three non-union acting or technical positions for Southern students in its summer season; provide a member of its artistic staff to teach a Shakespeare workshop (THR 228) every semester; and offer additional free workshops to SCSU theater students. In addition, when available, a member of the ESC artistic staff will direct agreed-upon Theatre Department productions, and the company will provide formal fieldwork opportunities for qualified Southern students interested in theater education. The university, for its part, will provide office, classroom, and rehearsal space for ESC; allow access to the costume shop and scene shop; and offer the opportunity for qualified ESC staff to teach, direct or design in Theatre Department courses or productions. Both organizations will acknowledge the partnership in their advertising literature and publications.

Steven Breese, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, says of the new partnership, “We are delighted that Elm Shakespeare will be taking up residency at Southern. Our artistic and educational missions are deeply interconnected and, like any good partnership, we strengthen one another by joining our forces.

“While SCSU has, for many years, had a strong relationship with Elm, having the company and its artistic staff ensconced on our campus and interacting with students and faculty every day will be a ‘shot’ of creative adrenaline — something that all artists need and welcome.”

Rebecca Goodheart, Elm Shakespeare’s new Producing Artistic Director, says, “We at Elm Shakespeare are so excited to solidify our long-time working relationship and become the theater company in residence at Southern Connecticut State University. This partnership is the best kind of collaboration. Together we will create more classical performance at the highest standards, and more opportunities for students than ever before. Together, we will ensure that everyone in this great community and beyond has access to world-class arts and education. Together, we will be the example of what is possible in New Haven.”

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Breese acknowledges the efforts of Goodheart and Kaia Monroe, Theatre Department Chair, for the work they have done to bring this partnership to fruition, adding, “It represents a giant step forward for our theater program, while offering a secure home for one the region’s most respected professional Shakespeare companies.”

An official signing of the MOU will take place on March 2, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lyman Center lobby. The signing will coincide with Elm Shakespeare’s announcement of its 2016 season. For more information about Elm Shakespeare, visit its website.

 

Every student has a story

Senior Clarisa Rodrigues is committed to earning a college degree – and making the world a better place for students with special needs. The Southern Fund lets her do both.

Thanks to the Southern Fund, Clarisa was awarded an Undergraduate Research Grant to study the special education system in Ecuador. A talented member of the Honors College who is fluent in three languages, she’ll soon use that newfound knowledge – to help children in her own classroom.

Gifts to the Southern Fund help us meet students’ greatest needs and forward the university’s most important initiatives – including Undergraduate Research Grants. Each grant provides a $3,000 stipend to a Southern student for cutting-edge research on topics ranging from economic rights in the U.S. to smartphone security to particle physics.

Laos

In terms of diversity of and access to faculty-led study abroad programming, Southern is now “walking the walk,” says Erin Heidkamp, director of international education. With the recent addition of five new study abroad programs, destinations now range from Liverpool to Laos, and program fees are affordable compared to other institutional and third-party programs study abroad programs outside of Southern.

New programs this year include Amsterdam (sociology), China (nursing), Guatemala II (special education), Laos (English), and Liverpool (recreation and leisure). These programs join the university’s existing programs in Belize (biology), Bermuda (the environment, geography, and marine sciences), Guatemala I (public health), Iceland (the environment, geography, and marine sciences), Rome (English), Spain (world languages and literatures) and Tuscany (world languages and literatures).

Heidkamp says, “The publication of our new 2016 faculty-led program abroad booklets has sparked tremendous interest among faculty interested in establishing their own programs. We couldn’t be more excited about the growth in this area of OIE (Office of International Education) services. It’s the direct result of having defined the direction in which we, as a university, want to move.”

A key part of Southern’s mission as an institution of higher learning is “preparing our local students for global lives,” and each year, a significant number of Southern students study abroad. Last year, the university joined 240 institutions nationwide in the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade.

Amsterdam

The Amsterdam program (July 7 – August 7) will address social problems in The Netherlands, especially as they relate to crime, drug culture, sexuality and social control. These and other topics will be covered in courses taught by experts on Dutch social policy and field experiences led by activists, policy makers, and scholars from the University of Amsterdam.

China

The 2016 China program (March 17 – 26) will provide nursing students a unique opportunity to study global healthcare abroad within a developing, culturally diverse population. Students will identify how cultural issues and global diversity impact the delivery of healthcare and will work collaboratively with Chinese nursing students from Central South University in Changsha, China, to explore, understand, and appreciate these differences as well as identify, assess, and plan interventions from a global perspective.

Guatemala

The special education field study in Guatemala (July 31 – August 14) will provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about special education in a developing country through interactions with children, teachers and families; discussions with in-country experts; community observations; and visits to schools, residential facilities and other agencies serving children with disabilities. Students will examine special education policies and services with attention to availability, accessibility, assessment, professional preparation, and resources. Topics such as cultural and linguistic diversity, literacy, school attendance and completion, and successful post-school transitions will be explored.

Laos

In the Laos program (May 30- June 16), students will take a course that introduces and teaches travel writing while offering intensive practice in multiple forms within the genre, making it suitable for seasoned as well as aspiring travelers and writers. Students will use their daily interactions with Lao culture, food, historical sites, and people to inform their written reflections on what it means to be a foreign person traveling through an unfamiliar country.

Liverpool

The Liverpool program – “Atlantic Crossing!” (April 3-12) — will provide students with the opportunity to meet like-minded students at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), and learn about the shared historical and cultural roots of two significant coastal cities that played a major role in the international economic and cultural development of the United States and England. The program may also serve as a practicum experience for a student in the Tourism, Hospitality and Event concentration, with student involvement in the planning and logistical management of the program. Students will be required to attend face-to-face meetings with RLS faculty, online meetings with LJMU counterparts prior to departure, and develop a research project linked to their current course work and concentration.

For more information about any of these programs, including fees and contact information, visit the OIE website.

To hear study abroad alumni speak about their experiences with international study, don’t miss the Global Ambassador Symposium on February 24 at 12 p.m. in Engleman A120.

President Mary Papazian’s acceptance of a job offer as president of San Jose State University received major news coverage, not only here in Connecticut, but in California.

The media coverage in Connecticut included Connecticut’s three largest newspapers – theHartford Courant, New Haven Register and Connecticut Post, which all ran pieces on Jan. 28.

Will Hochman, professor English, was a guest Jan. 26 on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show, where he was among the panelists who discussed the use of the “unreliable narrator” in literature. He talked about its use in the novel, “Catcher in the Rye.”

Julie Liefeld, director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program, was interviewedJan. 25onChannel 61’s5 p.m. newscast regarding a new program for veterans and their families being offered by the SCSU Family Clinic.

A book by Armen Marsoobian, chairman of the Philosophy Department, was highlighted in the Jan. 16 edition of the English-language Turkish newspaper, Today’s Zaman. The book, “Dildilian Brothers: Photography and the Story of an Armenian Family in Anatolia, 1888-1923,” has recently hit the shelves in Turkey.

The Norwalk Hour ran a Jan. 6 article about a new specialization in public utility management that is being created at Southern. The program is designed to prepare public utility employees with the training and education necessary for the 21st century. A large percentage of the existing workforce in that field is retiring during the next several years.

President Mary A. Papazian

Mark Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, has announced that Mary A. Papazian will resign as President of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) effective July 1, 2016, and will become the 29th president of San José State University.

In announcing her resignation, President Ojakian noted that while President Papazian has only served as SCSU president since 2011, she has nevertheless produced a distinguished record of student success and accomplishment. “From major construction projects that have changed the face of SCSU, to urban initiatives and the growth of STEM programs to meet workforce development needs, President Papazian has served the SCSU community with exceptional vision and integrity,” said President Ojakian. “We are indeed fortunate to have had the benefit of her extraordinary leadership.”

“The Board of Regents greatly appreciates President Papazian’s service and commitment to Southern Connecticut State University and its students,” said Board of Regents Chairman Nicholas Donofrio. “We wish her well in her future endeavors and we thank her for her service to the state, CSCU community and Southern Connecticut State University.”

Since 2011, President Papazian — the 11th president of SCSU — led a period of institutional advancement. During her tenure, she established a Student Success Taskforce that enhanced student services and support, and the first Presidents Commission on Campus Climate and Inclusion. Major construction projects included the new School of Business, renovation of Buley Library, and the Academic Laboratory Science Building and changed the face of the SCSU campus.

While president, she also established the Office for STEM innovation and Leadership, where SCSU’s new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs were created in alignment with the needs of a 21st century economy. In spring of 2015, President Papazian and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp announced a new bioscience partnership linking SCSU and the City of New Haven.  In addition, the university is now developing an initiative with the city of Bridgeport, focusing on education, business and environmental science.

During her time at SCSU, President Papazian also led the university through the final phase of a successful academic accreditation process, expanded SCSU’s community engagement by cultivating stronger ties to SCSU’s feeder K-12 school districts, and began the planning phase in partnership with New Haven Public Schools to place a K-4 magnet school on campus. Her efforts enabled SCSU to earn a place on the coveted President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Before joining SCSU, President Papazian was provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Lehman College at the City University of New York. She also served as dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Science at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. At Oakland University where she also was an assistant, associate and tenured professor of English.  She holds a bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. in English literature from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

President Papazian is active in many community organizations, and is chair of the Connecticut Campus Compact governance sub-committee, president of the Greater New Haven Heart Walk and director of New Haven Promise, a scholarship and support program to promote college education for New Haven Public school students. In 2014, she received the Athena Leadership Award from the Greater New Haven and Quinnipiac Chambers of Commerce, and a state delegation member for Complete College America.

The Board of Regents shall commence a search for President Papazian’s replacement shortly.

blogmultiplechoice
Multiple choice tests may be a better learning tool than some educators believe.

Ask students whether they prefer multiple choice or more open-ended questions on their tests and most are likely to say the former.

But teachers, particularly at the college level, may not be so quick to agree. The ability for students to simply guess their way to a higher grade than might otherwise be the case is not exactly what some educators have in mind.

But a new study — co-authored by Jeffrey Webb, assistant professor of chemistry at Southern — suggests that multiple choice tests may offer students a more effective way to learn than previously believed. The study shows that in situations where students had an opportunity for a “second guess” on multiple choice tests, they have a much higher success rate in providing the correct answer than random chance would have it.

The study included nearly 1,500 chemistry students during a three-year period taking tests in which five potential answers were given. After an incorrect answer, a second attempt at answering the questions would generate a 25-percent success rate based simply on chance (one in four remaining options). But the study showed that students actually answered the questions correctly 44.9 percent of the time.

“It suggests that second chances at questions actually involved an informed response, rather than just pure guessing, at least among many students,” Webb says.

Webb says that science faculty, in particular, tend to be skeptical of multiple choice tests. “They tend to be used sparingly,” he says.

But the results show that multiple choice tests can be a good educational tool in situations in which students are given partial credit for correct second guesses, and when immediate feedback on their answers are provided, just as they were during the study, according to Webb.

The study was published in September 2015 by the Canadian Center of Science and Education. Other authors included former Southern student Jeremy Merrel, as well as University of New Haven faculty members Pier Cirillo and Pauline Schwartz — both faculty members at the University of New Haven.

 

 

 

 

Joe Andruzzi, Walter Camp Award

Former Southern Connecticut State University All-American Joe Andruzzi has been named the 2016 Man of the Year by the Walter Camp Foundation. He was recognized at the organization’s 49th annual Awards weekend on January 14-16.

The Walter Camp Man of the Year award honors an individual who has been closely associated with the game of American football as a player, coach or close attendant to the game. He must have attained a measure of success and been a leader in his chosen profession. He must have contributed to the public service for the benefit of his community, country and his fellow man. He must have an impeccable reputation for integrity and must be dedicated to our American Heritage and the philosophy of Walter Camp.

A two-time All-American at Southern, Andruzzi won three Super Bowls while with the New England Patriots from 2000-04 and was named to the squad’s All-Decade Team. He also played with the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns during his NFL career.

Off the field, Joe and his wife Jen have worked tirelessly to support those in need. Andruzzi has been recognized with the Ed Block Courage Award in 2002 and the first Ron Burton Community Service in 2003.

In 2007, Joe himself needed help as he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma. Following his recovery, he and his family founded the Joe Andruzzi Foundation and have been committed to tackling cancer’s impact by providing financial assistance for patients and their families to help them focus on recovery.

In addition to his great work helping others, Joe’s personal life story is even more inspirational. His three brothers are all members of the New York City Fire Department, and all three responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. During the 2013 Boston Marathon, he was able to help injured people following the bombings.

Andruzzi was also previously named the 2010 Man of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston.

School of Business students

It was a simple suggestion that grabbed the attention of Modern Plastics President Bing Carbone: If he hired someone for just six hours a week to update social media accounts, brand recognition would rise and marketing costs would drop.

That nugget of advice – backed by solid market research – came not from a high-priced consultant, but from a group of five business-minded students at Southern Connecticut State University.

The hiring recommendation was part of a larger social media campaign to help the Shelton-based plastics distributor increase profits and boost sales of two older products, Plexiglas acrylic and COVESTRO MAKROLON® Polycarbonate. The proposal netted the students a $1,000 prize from the company.

“Wow, I’m blown away,” said Carbone after listening to the students’ pitch at the School of Business during the week of final exams. “I’ve been to other presentations and have been thoroughly disappointed. Here, I can’t say enough.”

The presentation was the culmination of a semester-long project aimed at giving students a real-life experience in the business world, says Robert Forbus, associate professor of marketing and assistant to the dean of the School of Business. The project was part of a marketing class he taught during the fall semester.

School of Business students

Forbus divided the class into six teams, asking each to research ways Modern Plastics could tap back into the Plexiglas and polycarbonate market. The company shifted its focus away from those products over the years, favoring the larger profit margins of high-end engineering and medical grade plastics, but other companies have found them profitable. Forbus then gave the teams 10 minutes each to pitch their ideas.

“Ideally, what they’ll leave this class with is a new skill that’s very much in demand in the workplace,” Forbus says. “Plus, they’ll have a deliverable – this plan – that they can actually show to a hiring manager.”

The winning team suggested numerous ways the company could increase sales by stepping up its online presence – using blogs, targeted ads, discounts and promotions and more frequent and engaging Facebook posts.

Carbone said just as he had hoped, the students approached the problem with fresh ideas and a youthful perspective.

While he intends to use some recommendations from each team’s presentation, he said the winners stood out by offering something he could implement immediately. Carbone said he’s thinking about offering the new social media position to a Southern student as an internship.

“I thought they hit it right on the nose with things I ought to be doing,” Carbone said. “I feel that I could implement their ideas tomorrow.”

School of Business student

The university-business partnership began after Carbone approached Judite Vamvakides, SCSU director of annual and leadership giving. Carbone’s two daughters attend Southern, and he said he wanted to give something back.

Vamvakides arranged for Forbus and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Durnin to tour the plastics company, and during their conversations, the contest was born.

Members of the winning group said the experience was nerve-wracking, especially since they had to start more than three weeks before the deadline after being told their first plan wouldn’t work.

“We initially wanted to do something with 3-D printing, but they didn’t have the manufacturing ability, so we had to start from scratch,” said senior Charlie Dunn.

Junior Chanelle Clarke said the presentation helped her overcome her fear of public speaking. “I was really shy and nervous about the whole process, but my teammates really encouraged me to go out there and kill it,” she said.

Senior Brielle Grestini said the most valuable lesson was learning how to work together as a team. Other winning team members were seniors Ashley Tomanio and Melanie Sivo.

Durnin said the students’ role in the project should give them an edge in job interviews, and she commended Forbus and Carbone for providing the opportunity. “This is a real focus of what we do in this school,” Durnin said. “We want students to feel as if when they leave here, they have the skill set they need to succeed.”

While the heartwarming images of soldiers happily returning home into the loving arms of their families after years of service are ingrained in the American consciousness, the transition back to civilian life is often filled with unanticipated challenges.

The integration back into society – family life, the workplace, school – can be a bit of a bumpy road, especially for those who have been away for many years. It is even more difficult for those veterans who must contend with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as those suffering from depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide.

As part of an effort to assist in this transition, the Family Clinic at Southern has created a program called, “A Soldier’s Home Project.” It involves free therapy services to active duty soldiers, veterans and their families. A range of services are available, including those focusing on healthy living after and during deployment, relationship building, PTSD, parenting during and after deployment, mindful living, emotional regulation, anxiety, suicide prevention, and grief and loss. Family members may participate in services even if their soldier is deployed or cannot attend. Group and individual sessions are available.

“Our soldiers and veterans have given so much to their country, and this is one way in which we can help them,” said Julie Liefeld, clinic director. “And we also want to assist families who are affected, as well.”

Liefeld, who also serves as director of the SCSU Marriage and Family Therapy program, said that PTSD is not unusual among those who have served in the military, especially in combat. Certain triggers – which vary from person to person – can spark a PTSD incident. She said that in some individuals, it can be the skidding sound of wheels while driving, or a truck that jackknifes and mimics a gunshot sound. In others, it might be a certain smell, or even the sight of garbage on the road.

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The limbic system, a part of the brain that regulates the fight-or-flight function, is responsible for an individual remembering certain sounds, sights or actions and translating them into danger signals, Liefeld explained.
She also said that while soldiers who are deployed are hypervigilant out of necessity, it takes time to adjust to the more laid back civilian lifestyle. “It’s not like flipping a switch in which people can just turn it off right away, especially for veterans who were deployed for a long period of time,” Liefeld said.

“We even see it in the classroom,” she said. “For example, some veterans want to make sure their backs are not to the door.”

She said that even if being hypervigilant does not create an immediate problem, it can lead to depression when sustained for too long.

Liefeld has worked on establishing this new program with Jack Mordente, SCSU’s coordinator of veterans’ and military affairs.

“Veterans are never going to forget their experience, but this program will help them come to terms with it,” said Mordente, a veteran who served during the Vietnam War era. “It will give them and/or their families another form of support.”

Mordente stressed that the lives of spouses and children of veterans also are affected by deployment and returning from combat. “The dynamics of family life change, so it’s an adjustment for them, too,” he said. “The Family Clinic here at Southern wants to reach out to the families, as well, and that’s very important.”
The Family Clinic is staffed by faculty in the SCSU Marriage and Family Therapy program, as well as many advanced graduate students.

SCSU also offers a variety of services for veterans, including a Drop-In Center, and the university Veterans’ Association.

(For further information about the “A Soldier’s Home Clinic” program, or to make an appointment, call the clinic at 203-392-6413.)