Announcements

David Bakies and Melanie Savelli, Top Owl Award winners for December 2018

The Top Owl Social Justice Award is given to recognize contributions toward helping the university achieve its mission of creating and sustaining an inclusive community that appreciates, celebrates, and advances student and campus diversity.

This award, selected by the President’s Commission on Social Justice, will be awarded this year during the months of December, January, February, and March to recognize the contributions, leadership, and service of a worthy faculty, staff, part-time student, and full-time student.

For the month of December, the Top Owl Award winners are student David Bakies and Melanie Savelli, assistant professor of Communication.

David Bakies is a senior geography major and the president of the Geography Club. For the 2018-19 academic year, he is leading the food recovery program for the Sustainability Office, and spent the 2017-18 academic year interning on this project as well. Bakies oversees the daily collection of excess food from Conn Hall operations and the delivery of this food to St. Ann’s soup kitchen, a neighbor to the Southern campus.

Bakies ensures that the food recovery program has all shifts filled with volunteers, an important opportunity for SCSU students to participate and engage in an activity that actively supports food justice for all. The food recovery project puts large quantities of food on plates for neighbors who otherwise go hungry. Under Bakies’ leadership, Southern has donated more than 30,000 lbs. of fresh food, which translates to 25,000 meals.

Bakies is a non-traditional student at Southern and a decorated U.S. Army veteran. His nominator described him as “unfailingly kind and respectful to everyone, all the time,” adding that he devotes time above and beyond what is required on the projects he is involved with, simply because he is generous with his time and values helping people.

Dedicated to environmental restoration, Bakies has also involved himself with projects at the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies. His nominator wrote that “he is happiest when working on projects where he can actively make a difference.” This coming spring, he will be using side scanning radar on a boat to detect and remove abandoned lobster pots, of which there are thousands, from the bottom of Long Island Sound. These abandoned traps needlessly kill marine wildlife and pose a risk to many animals, and to fisheries’ well-being.

Melanie Savelli teaches COM 150, World of Communication. Her nominator wrote that one requirement in the course is to watch weekly TED Talks that provide perspectives students don’t typically seek out. Recently Savelli had her class listen to a podcast called “Conversations with people who hate me,” in which the host had a conversation with someone who sent him a hateful message. The nominator, a student, explained that “at first, I was turned off by the immediate message and tone of the ‘someone’ who sent the message, but listening to the whole podcast I was able to hear and witness a change. Not only did the host and guest have a constructive exchange but the guest realized why and admitted to feeling guilty for sending the message. Dr. Savelli is requiring students to listen to a podcast that is an example of how to break the barriers that prevent both opposing parties from having a constructive conversation.”

The course has also included assignments such as watching a TED Talk about a woman who left the Westboro Baptist Church and now works to show people how to have more productive dialogs and how to manage the emotions and stress that comes with talking about controversial topics.

The nominator emphasized how these assignments have given students more tools to engage in difficult conversations with those who may not agree with them. Other students in the class have also expressed that the videos have made an impact on them.

Congratulations to December’s Top Owl Award winners!

To nominate someone for a Top Owl award, visit the university’s Social Justice website.

With an extensive career related to admissions, Tony Pace will soon assume the role of director of undergraduate admissions at the university, as a SUOAF temporary appointment. Pace has extensive admission and enrollment experience at institutions including Trinity College, Holy Cross College, Vanderbilt University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. He also has a successful record of account and relationship management with the College Board Southern Regional Office. Pace is a veteran professional with Customer Relations Management software (Slate, Salesforce) experience, a strong knowledge of college admissions issues, and extensive knowledge of changing demographics that impact admissions strategies. He also is experienced with leveraging financial aid and its use in college admissions using data to propose strategic changes to the admissions process.

Tony Pace

During his most recent assignment as the Interim Director of Admissions at Xavier (2017-18), Pace provided daily leadership and supervision of admissions recruitment and operations staff. He managed strategies that adjust to changing environments and trends in recruitment and admission of freshmen and transfer students. He implemented an aggressive recruitment program designed to attract and retain a diverse pool of freshmen and transfer students from traditional and non-traditional markets. By using best practices and current technological solutions to manage the inquiry and applicant pools, he and his team achieved a 16 percent increase in applications, 10 percent increase in completed applications, 9 percent increase in admits, and 18 percent increase in deposits. Pace supervised implementation of social media tools to better engage prospective, applicant, and admitted students.

Additionally, he identified training and professional development opportunities for professional and operations staff to improve staff functionality. He worked in tandem with the appropriate offices, and collaborated in the development of promotional/marketing plans that support the academic mission of the institution related to undergraduate admissions.

Clara Ogbaa was recently named the university’s new Director of Library Services. Ogbaa has been the Director of Library Services at Gateway Community College since 2008 and the Interim Director of Education Technology at Gateway since 2016. Under her leadership and management, the GCC Library experienced tremendous growth and a complete transformation of library services and resources for students. Ogbaa oversaw the successful consolidation of the GCC Long Wharf and North Haven campus libraries’ services and collections and moved them into the new state of-the-art downtown college facility. The consolidation improved services and facilities, increased students’ information literacy and increased the educational technology skills of students and faculty. As Gateway’s representative on the CSCU Council of Library Directors, she was highly involved in the 2017 implementation of the new system-wide library platform;  Ogbaa will remain on the Council, now as Southern’s representative.

Ogbaa has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on information literacy and emerging technologies. She is a member of the American Library Association, the Association for College and Research Libraries, and the Connecticut Library Association.

Prior to her work at Gateway, Ogbaa was Administrative Librarian at Texas State University (2004-2008), and Coordinator of Library Instruction here at Southern (1998-2004). Ogbaa holds her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from University of Bridgeport, and her master’s in library and information science and bachelor’s in English from University of Texas at Austin.

Ogbaa, speaking about joining the Buley Library team, says that she is delighted to come back to Southern as library director and believes this opportunity at Buley will be an amazing experience. “I am excited about the myriad of opportunities created by extensive study areas, computer stations, makerspace — tools that can help our students think, create, explore, innovate, collaborate, and fulfill their dreams.

“With our beautiful newly renovated library, our library stands as a rich resource for learning, research, and scholarship on campus.  With a team of dedicated, knowledgeable library faculty and staff working well together the library will provide effective services and programs that will positively impact student achievement and success in a welcoming learning and social environment. Some of my goals are to maximize our new space, to effectively collaborate with all the shared resources in the building, and to provide effective access to information sources and services.”

 

Thanks to Rebecca Hedreen, Library Coordinator for Distance Learning, for contributing to this story.

Photo credit: Shirley Anderson

2018 graduates from SCSU Commencement

Undergraduate students at Southern soon will have the ability to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a combined five years in several majors as part of a package of new accelerated programs.

Robert Prezant, provost and vice president for academic affairs, has announced that the new pathways officially have begun with the start of the fall semester. They will be available to students who are pursuing the following degrees: B.S. in computer science, B.S. in recreation and leisure studies and B.S. in athletic training. In addition, the existing accelerated program option for those seeking a B.S. in chemistry has been revamped to better meet the needs of those students.

“These new programs will enable students to save time and save money, while continuing to provide the full benefit of a high quality educational experience,” Prezant said.

A bachelor’s degree traditionally takes four years to complete, while a master’s degree typically takes two years of study for a full-time student. Therefore, the new program will enable students who are interested in pursuing both degrees to shave a full year off the time that it generally takes to finish. That will save students a full year’s tuition and expenses, as well as enable them to become eligible to enter the job market a year sooner.

The programs will continue to offer the traditional four-year bachelor’s degrees and two-year master’s degree tracks. But those students looking to complete both degrees in a total of five years are generally encouraged to apply for acceptance into an accelerated program during the spring semester of their junior year.

The programs generally enable students to replace 6 to 12 credits of undergraduate electives with graduate level courses in their major during their senior year.

Michael Kingan

Michael Kingan has been named Southern’s new vice president for institutional advancement, effective July 9, 2018. He will oversee Development, Integrated Communications & Marketing, and Alumni Relations and will also serve as executive director of the SCSU Foundation.

“Michael has exhibited a passion for developing and growing advancement programs,” said President Joe Bertolino. “This has resulted in expanded educational opportunity for tens of thousands of students and several generations of tomorrow’s global citizens and leaders.”

Kingan has served for more than 25 years in a number of diverse institutions, including the Universities of Michigan, Washington, Iowa and New Mexico. He was the first Chief Advancement Officer at the Singapore American School, one of the world’s premier international schools, with an enrollment exceeding 4,000 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.

“As it approaches its 125th anniversary this fall, Southern is a diverse, vibrant institution with wonderful traditions and great potential,” Kingan said. “During my on-campus interviews, I was particularly impressed by the pride exhibited by students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as President Bertolino’s institution-wide commitment to social justice and to being a good neighbor to the community at large.”

Most recently, Kingan was the vice president for development and alumni relations at the University of Texas at Arlington, a Carnegie Research-1 institution that ranks among the top five most diverse student populations of all comprehensive public universities in the nation.

He has prepared and successfully launched comprehensive fundraising campaigns throughout his career and has expertise in identifying fundraising priorities, collaborating with university leadership, faculty, staff, alumni, and volunteers and facilitating gift engagements that result in substantial growth in institutional support.

“Private funding sources are essential to advance Southern’s mission of academic excellence, access and service for the public good,” Kingan said. “I look forward to working with my new colleagues to identify new areas of support for the institution and to spread the word about the vital role that Southern plays in Connecticut’s economy.”

Kingan earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Austin College in Sherman and his Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He served as an instructor in the Overseas Service Corps of the YMCA in Keelung, Taiwan, before embarking on his career in philanthropy and advancement. He is married to Mary Laing Kingan and they have two grown children, Will and Madeleine.

Richard Zipoli, Associate Professor, Communication Disorders, and Chelsea Harry, Associate Professor, Philosophy

The Board of Regents for Higher Education — which governs the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) — has recognized 18 CSCU faculty as recipients of the 2017–18 Board of Regents Teaching, Research, Scholarly Excellence Awards and Adjunct Faculty Teaching Awards. The awards were presented at the Fourth Annual CSCU Conference on Student Success and Shared Governance.

The awards are campus-wide recognitions of excellence in teaching or research, as well as creative and scholarly work by CSCU full-time, junior faculty and part-time faculty members. Six system-wide awards are granted to campus award winners in teaching, research, scholarly excellence and adjunct faculty teaching.

Board of Regents Teaching Awards are presented to faculty from each of the state universities and community colleges. Two system-wide teaching awards are given to faculty who best exemplify high quality teaching, one each from the community colleges and universities. The recipient of this year’s Board of Regents System-Wide Teaching Award for the universities is Dr. Richard Zipoli, Associate Professor of Communication Disorders.

Board of Regents Research Awards are granted to faculty among Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities. A single system-wide research award is given to the individual who best exemplifies high quality research among the four universities. This year’s Board of Regents System-Wide Research Award was given to Dr. Chelsea Harry, Associate Professor of Philosophy.

Zipoli has been described by a colleague as “one of the most talented and dedicated teachers in the School of Health and Human Services” — one who never seeks to lower his teaching load, who takes on extra assignments, is a scholar, is always available to students and truly shines in the classroom.

One colleague put it this way: “He reminds me of a talented music conductor in the way he interprets content, delivers that information to his students and inspires them to perform in exceptional ways. He is patient, creative, passionate, and encouraging to students.”

Zipoli’s area of expertise focuses on communication disorders and reading difficulties in school-based settings. He uses technology in creative and effective ways and blends lecture with discussion and other best practices for student learning and engagement.

In addition to his dedication and talent in teaching, Zipoli is a scholar. His area of expertise focuses on communication disorders and reading difficulties in school-based settings.

“During his tenure at our institution he has produced an impressive range of peer-reviewed products that include journal publications, national conference presentations, and regional conference presentations,” a colleague wrote in nominating Zipoli.

Zipoli’s research efforts are never done to garner personal recognition, but rather to produce knowledge that has immediate value for practitioners and children, a colleague wrote.

Zipoli advises student researchers “in the same thoughtful manner that he teaches students in his courses. He displays tremendous humility, takes on a graceful, yet firm supporting role, elevates students and builds their confidence,” the colleague wrote.

Zipoli, in reflecting on the honor of his nomination, wrote first of his love of teaching, calling it “easily . . . the most rewarding of my varied roles within higher education.”

He says that many of his students’ lives have been impacted by a communication disorder involving a sibling on the autism spectrum, or a grandparent with impaired speech and language following a stroke. “Their dedication to serving persons with disabilities has made the long hours of preparation, teaching, clinical supervision, informal advisement, and research mentoring well worth the effort,” he wrote.

Zipoli earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology – special education at the University of Connecticut, and both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in communication disorders from Southern.

 

Although Chelsea Harry arrived at Southern only five years ago, “she has been a remarkably productive scholar in disparate fields, showing an intellectual rigor and ingenuity that merits recognition,” a colleague wrote.

Harry has one book already, two others under advanced contract, and nine articles that have appeared in books or journals, with a tenth under revision.

But it is the quality of Harry’s work and the prestigious publications in which it has appeared that outshine the impressive quantity, colleagues say.

Her fields of specialization are the philosophy of nature, ancient Greek philosophy, and Post­ Kantian German philosophy.

Harry has already established herself as an internationally recognized leading expert in the field of Aristotelian studies. Her book, Chronos in Aristotle’s Physics: On the Nature of Time, was published by Springer in 2015. The book was selected for a prestigious “Author-Meets-Critics” session at the American Philosophical Association Central Division meeting in Chicago in February.

Harry’s book on non-human animal flourishing has the potential to be a game-changer in her field and “It is easy to see that Dr. Harry’s work will have an impact on the field of philosophy and in the contemporary debate over animal rights,” a colleague wrote.

A second colleague wrote that in five years at Southern, Harry “has demonstrated an exceptionally high level of scholarship that has been recognized both by Southern and her peers in the discipline of Philosophy.”
Her work is already making an impact in her areas of research, and her scholarship has garnered research grants every year she has been at Southern.

In addition, she has been a recipient of the Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship, which gave her the time to work on a translation and commentary on the writings of the important German philosopher F. W. J. Schelling.

Harry has become a speaker in demand, and keeps a busy conference schedule, having presented papers at 16 different national and international conferences.

“Last year a paper she authored was accepted into a highly competitive and prestigious workshop in Ancient Philosophy at Humboldt University, Berlin,” one colleague noted. “The pace of her conference presentations and invited talks is hard to match in our department.”

In addition to being successful in receiving grants, Harry is also known as a person who is always supportive of her colleagues’ research in the Philosophy Department and across the institution.

Dr. Harry “contributes immeasurably to the intellectual culture at our institution by organizing colloquia that are attended by students and faculty alike,” a colleague wrote.

She was awarded tenure in August 2017.

Harry received exceptional international recognition when she was an invited and fully funded participant in the 3rd Ancient Philosophy Workshop for Female Graduate Students and Early Career Researchers in 2016, at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Harry holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Duquesne University; a master’s degree with distinction in comparative philosophy from University of Hawai’i at Manoa; and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, magna cum laude, from The George Washington University.

 

 

 

The J. Philip Smith Award for Outstanding Teaching is presented each year to one full-time and one part-time faculty member for exemplary teaching. The award is one of the university’s highest honors, and faculty honorees are recognized at undergraduate commencement with a plaque and an honorarium of $2500.

The awardee for 2017’s full-time award is Associate Professor of English Charles Baraw, known for his thoughtful, meticulously prepared and stimulating English classes, as well as his rare ability to switch gears if that’s what he senses students need. The awardee for the part-time award is Michelle Stoehr-McCarthy, Adjunct Professor of English, an accomplished writer, who has made a remarkable impact on students and colleagues during her short time at Southern as an adjunct professor teaching composition/academic writing.

In eight years at Southern, Baraw has designed and taught more than a dozen different courses and created two new ones again this year. He has a broad range of experience teaching 19th- and 20th-century literature, as well as the works of Shakespeare and the British poets.

One of his most popular classes, “Comics and the American Experience,” ends with a project in which students create their own comic, along with an essay about the creative process behind their productions.

“I have to listen carefully to what students say and what they do not say in their conversations with the text, with each other, and with me,” Baraw wrote of his teaching style. “And I have to be ready to act accordingly, to change, to try a different approach. What do we do, for instance, when students are reluctant to speak in class because, as some have told me, they are ‘afraid of being wrong’? Or when students do not know what to look at or what to look for in a text, or when they don’t or won’t or can’t do the assigned reading?”

One colleague, calling Baraw “respected and admired,” said that he “has made a dramatic and positive difference for our English majors and for students across the university.” The colleague added that Baraw’s instructional design is “brilliant,” and he has “deep care for the learning and development of each student.”

Baraw has said his core philosophy of teaching, is based on a “mutual imperative to trust,” explaining, “I have to trust that all students can learn . . . and they must trust that I can teach them,” he said.

Baraw has been a champion of study abroad, and in recent years has been a key figure in the university’s growing relationship with Liverpool John Moores University. He has also started, and through his family endowed, a foundation fund to help Southern students with limited financial means to travel to Liverpool, or elsewhere, for their studies.

Beyond academics, Baraw has steadfastly promoted the AAA fund, designed to help at-risk students in times of financial crisis. The fund aids Southern’s efforts to encourage student retention and persistence.

A graduate student-turned-colleague of Baraw’s describes him as an “incredible mentor,” who has guided her through tough situations. The student said Baraw modeled behavior that has changed not only “how I teach, but how I live, with a focus toward progress, not perfection.”

Colleagues also said they’ve learned a lot about the art of teaching from Baraw. “Chuck is one of a very small number of my ‘go-to’ people in the department when I want to talk teaching,” one colleague said, adding that Baraw is “a font of great ideas, sensitive self-criticism, and constructive experimentation in light of actual classroom results.”

Baraw holds a Ph.D. in English from Yale University, a master’s degree in English from Middlebury College, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature and American history from the University of Vermont.

 

Stoehr-McCarthy says that her goals in the classroom “have been not only to teach reading and writing, but to promote social and personal engagement and commitment to excellence,” adding that “one of my talents as a teacher has been to discern student strengths, and to bring those out through positive feedback with attention to student-generated goals, while minimizing student weaknesses through redirection.”

She frequently ask students to present their writing both in and out of class in order to build their confidence and to promote leadership skills “that will serve my students in future SCSU classes and in life.”

One colleague wrote that Stoehr-McCarthy “has taken a leading role in encouraging students at all levels to present their research and writing to the public.” The colleague explained that Stoehr-McCarthy instituted a partner system among the 20 students in her class so they could respond to each other’s postings and work collaboratively in class. “Since that time, I have seen more evidence of why Professor Stoehr-McCarthy’s students, colleagues, and fellow writers respect her so much. She works closely with writers of all levels and cultivates confidence among them,” the colleague wrote.

Another colleague of Professor Stoehr-McCarthy’s said that while she’s certain there are many who can attest to her highly effective, engaging, and innovative teaching model, “what makes her a truly outstanding teacher is her commitment outside of the classroom to the profession itself.”

A student who had Stoehr-McCarthy for the spring 2017 semester said that she is a fabulous teacher, but most of all a wonderful person who took great care of her emotionally when the student’s brother died.

The student wrote: “Never in my life have I known such grief and have been tormented by such pain; Shelley was the only professor that took time out of her day to sympathize with me, and made sure I was ever okay. During my leave of absence from class, she put my mental health first before my assignments that I was going to miss. When I returned to her class, she was so patient with me and would come over to my desk to encourage me when I would look or act withdrawn from what we were doing. I have never been more thankful for an educator that had such a big heart for her students.”

Another student wrote that Stoehr-McCarthy “truly made the class relatable for all the students, giving a technological twist for our millennial culture. She gave us, the students, the ability to express our thoughts and have intelligent class discussions about what our feelings were on topics and she even told us about herself and how she related to such topics.”

Professor Stoehr-McCarthy holds a bachelor of arts degree from Connecticut College with a major in dance and a minor in English. She is an author and has held many writing positions, including as a freelance editor, ghost writer, freelance reporter for Milford Patch, and guest book reviewer for The San Francisco Chronicle. From 1992-1996 she served as head teacher for School for Education in Dance in New York City. She is an MFA candidate in creative writing at Southern.

At the annual Celebration of Faculty Excellence on April 16, several major faculty awards were presented at a ceremony to honor the awardees, with President Joe Bertolino and Provost Robert Prezant welcoming those in attendance. Bertolino said, “First and foremost, we’re here to honor several of our distinguished colleagues. But secondly, we’re here as a public affirmation of the fact that, as a university, we hold faculty research, teaching, service, innovation, and student advising in high regard.”

Prezant agreed, adding, “For those of us in academia, a passion for research and learning is what brings us into the field. We sometimes don’t know whether our work resonates with others until we are recognized by a colleague or a student as having enlightened them. For a scholar and teacher, the feeling of knowing that you have shed light on something for someone is so very gratifying.”

This year’s honorees included:

Joan Finn Junior Faculty Research Fellowship
Awardees:
Dr. Rachel Jeffrey, Biology
Dr. Jason W. Smith, History

Mid-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Awardee:
Dr. Jennifer McCullagh, Communication Disorders

Senior-Level Faculty Research Fellowship
Awardee:
Dr. Camille Serchuk, Art

Faculty Scholar Award
Awardee:
Dr. Steven Judd, History

Robert Jirsa Service Award
Awardee:
Dr. Wafeek Abdelsayed, Accounting

Outstanding Academic Adviser Award
Awardee:
Dr. Helen Marx, Curriculum and Learning

Board of Regents Teaching Award (Campus and System Winner):
Awardee:
Dr. Richard Zipoli, Communication Disorders

Board of Regents Research Award (Campus and System Winner):
Awardee:
Dr. Chelsea Harry, Philosophy

J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teacher Award
Awardees:
Dr. Charles Baraw, English
Professor Shelley Stoehr-McCarthy, English

Middle East History Professor Steven Judd says he doesn’t “shy from controversy” when it comes to scholarly work or university life – and he’s demonstrated that in his recent book: Religious Scholars and the Umayyads: Piety­ minded Supporters of the Marwanid Caliphate.

The book forces scholars to re-examine long held assumptions about the early history of Islam.

Judd is this year’s recipient of the Faculty Scholar Award, an honor conferred jointly by the Faculty Scholar Award Committee and the university president. The award recognizes scholarly and creative work of exceptional merit by a full-time member of the SCSU faculty.

Judd’s book argues that opposition to the Umayyads was not universal and that a substantial network of pious religious scholars actively supported the regime. “Religious Scholars and the Umayyads was meant to disrupt,” Judd wrote of his book.

Judd asserts in his work that “the standard historiographical approach to the period falls victim to the biases of a few selected sources and that a broader array of sources provides a necessary corrective.”

He goes on to explain, “By exploiting different sources, I reconstructed the network of religious scholars who supported the supposedly Godless regime and demonstrated their influence on Islamic legal development.”

A colleague reflecting on the book informed Judd that he and others were “impressed by the depth of your scholarship, your imaginative use of biographical sources, and the fact that your book forces scholars to re-examine long held assumptions about the early history of Islam.”

Another colleague wrote: “Dr. Judd’s imaginative use of biographical sources is used to shed new light on an era that is forcing even the defenders of the orthodox position to acknowledge that some assumptions need to be re-examined.”

In describing the book, Judd writes that the Umayyad century, between 661-750 CE, has traditionally been treated “as an interregnum, characterized by ungodly rulers confronting pious opponents whose resistance ranged from rebellion to quietist withdrawal.”

Judd’s book has been well-received by scholars in the field, he says, “despite its disruptive intent and its critique of long-standing historical and historiographical paradigms.”

Reviews of the piece have appeared in diverse venues, including American, German, Turkish and Italian publications. The work has also been cited extensively in a variety of publications.

Hamza Zafer, the leading Islamic historian at the University of Washington, asserts that the work “changes our understanding of lslam’s early development,” and “upends the standard Western and Muslim narratives.”

David Powers, senior Islamic legal scholar at Cornell and long-time editor of “Islamic Law and Society,” describes the work as ”a solid and persuasive monograph” and “an important contribution.”

In addition to formal reviews, Religious Scholars and the Umayyads has been cited in a variety of articles, including by Nimrod Hurvitz, a leading Israeli scholar who notes that Judd’s work “marshaled a convincing body of historical ‘evidence that contradicts the ‘opposition paradigm.”

Judd says that broad and largely positive interest shown in the book around the globe suggests that it will have a long-term impact on the field and force scholars to question long-standing historical and historiographical paradigms.

“If that is the case,” he said, “the book will have accomplished its purpose.”

Judd holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College. He counts among the courses he teaches: Islamic Civilization, Muhammad to the Mongols, Modern Iraq, Islamic Fundamentalism, and The Medieval Middle East.

 

Michele Vancour, President Joe Bertolino, and Chandra Kelsey

Over 50 members of the campus community were honored at a recent campus celebration to mark Southern’s official designation as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Campus by the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC) — the first college or university to receive this designation in the state and in the nation. These community members, who have volunteered to serve as “Breastfeeding Champions,” are a critical component of the breastfeeding-friendly initiative. At the celebration, Public Health Professor and Director of Faculty Development Michele Vancour and President Joe Bertolino were presented with a certificate by Chandra M. Kelsey, Vancour’s CBC co-chair — an award, the CBC says, that “distinguishes SCSU for their work of making the campus accessible and providing lactation space to students, faculty, and visitors. Their unique approach to recruiting breastfeeding champions and alternate spaces alongside information and on-site professional lactation support set a new standard for providing necessary support on campus.”

This step is important for Southern because it is building an awareness that mothers who breastfeed their babies need access to safe, clean, and private spaces to express milk, says Kelsey. “Mothers who return to work or to school should be encouraged and supported both in their pursuits as well as their desire to provide food for their baby. A majority of students are not mothers, but bringing awareness to the need and the space changes social norms. Personally, I see it as a way to empower women.”

State law protects the rights of women who wish to breastfeed or express breast milk at their place of employment, during breaks and in private spaces designated for these purposes. But students are not protected by the workplace law, Vancour points out. “The culture is different for students from employees,” she says. “As a result of unequal access to supports, students are forced to leave school, miss classes, or pump milk in unsafe environments like bathrooms and cars.” The Breastfeeding-Friendly Campus initiative broadens support to include students and even visitors to campus who may wish to breastfeed or express breast milk.

The designation certainly “sends a signal about what kind of campus we are,” says Terricita Sass, associate vice president for enrollment management, who is a volunteer Breastfeeding Champion.

Kelsey agrees, adding, “Southern is off to a great start towards being a family-friendly environment for students and faculty by going a step beyond offering a basic lactation space. What they have done is to create a culture of support with faculty volunteering to be breastfeeding champions. These champions serve to bridge the gap when accessing the space is too far from their next class or next meeting. They work within their departments to identify a space that can be used on a temporary basis as well as be a point person if a mother needed more resources. This is not only an important piece, community support, for breastfeeding moms, it also benefits the university as a work place (reduced absenteeism, health care savings, employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity).”

A celebratory group of Southern’s Breastfeeding Champions

Vancour believes that Southern can serve as a model for other campuses around the country and in fact has been contacted by individuals at other universities who are working towards attaining the Breastfeeding-Friendly designation.

The Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC) is organized around the six sectors identified in the 2011 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding (SGCTA). Each Sector has a committee that is led by a board member-liaison and is responsible for implementing actions in response to the SGCTA. Each committee is tasked with contributing to the discussion and advancement of breastfeeding goals within the state. The CBC’s overall mission is to “improve Connecticut’s health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.”

Read an article in the Washington Post about Southern’s designation as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Campus.