Posts tagged with "academic"

MLWXBF chapter 4 illustration via Alison Christenson for use by 360 Magazine

Ivy League BLM Courses

By: Emily Bunn

Ivy League Schools to Begin Teaching “Black Lives Matter” Courses

Proving their commitment to diversity and understanding, several Ivy League colleges will begin offering courses on the Black Lives Matter Movement. Whereas other Ivy League schools, such as Cornell, have created Africana Departments that focus on the centrality of Africa and the African Diaspora to the modern world, BlackLivesMatter classes are situated in a specific cultural moment. Though, of course, the Black Lives Matter falls under the umbrella of contemporary African history, it is positioned in a more concentrated, modern application. Princeton and Dartmouth are the two first schools to begin accrediting this intersectional coursework. While Princeton most recently enacted their BLM coursework, Dartmouth has been pioneering this change since 2015.

Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter course discusses topics such as The Ivory Tower, understanding St. Louis and its racial history, race and class, racial violence, and systemic and unconscious racism, among other topics. Part of Dartmouth’s course description reads, “though the academy can never lay claim to social movements, this course seeks in part to answer the call of students and young activists around the country to take the opportunity to raise questions about, offer studied reflection upon, and allocate dedicated institutional space to the failures of democracy, capitalism, and leadership and to make #BlackLivesMatter. Developed through a group effort, this course brings to bear collective thinking, teaching, research, and focus on questions around race, structural inequality, and violence.” The course is taught by a wide variety of professors from different academic disciplines and social backgrounds. Taught for ten weeks by close to 20 different professors, Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter coursework stands as a comprehensive example of a cross-disciplinary concentration that recognizes and situates history in a contemporary, American context.

Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter class looks to examine the “historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement,” and is “committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies.” Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter’s course description reads as such: “This seminar traces the historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement in the United States and comparative global contexts. The movement and course are committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies. The course seeks to document the forms of dispossession that Black Americans face and offers a critical examination of the prison industrial complex, police brutality, urban poverty, and white supremacy in the US.” The course’ sample reading list includes selections from Angela Davis, Claudia Rankin, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Princeton’s course will be taught by Professor Hanna Garth, who has previously taught “Race and Racisms,” “Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory,” and “Theories of Social Justice.” Garth’s self-defined interest in “the ways in which people struggle to overcome structural violence” and past experience has well-prepared her for teaching this class. Garth remarks, “All of my research, teaching, and mentoring is designed around my commitment to feminist methodologies and critical race theory.”

While some have aggressively asserted that Princeton’s course readings are from a former communist party leader who once made it on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, their negativity further highlights the necessity of this course. While these assertions may be true, it is telling that certain critics commonly overlook the individual’s many (more recent) accomplishments. The author in question is Angela Davis – a revered, respected, and well-educated civil rights activist, philosopher, academic, and author. By painting Davis as an unpatriotic, dangerous criminal, it distracts from the important lessons that are to be learned from this influential leader. Similarly, Fox News’ article on Princeton’s new course links their mention of the “Black Lives Matter” movement not to an explanation of what the movement is, but instead to a page on US protests. As opposed to creating an educational resource for what the BLM Movement is, conservative critics are quick to jump to claims of Black violence and riots.

Especially in 2021, as the United States grapples with the fight for racial and civil justice, discussions surround race, policing, prison reform, and politics are more pertinent than ever. It is absolutely essential that our nation’s college students are exposed to critical race theory and critical thinking. By shielding America’s youth from the necessary history of this country – which is still being experienced today – we are only putting them in a position of increased vulnerability and ignorance. Knowledge is power and educating oneself on society’s issues is the only way to efficient work towards progressive social change. Hopefully, as the most prestigious academic institutions begin to model examples of intersectional and anti-racist coursework, other colleges and universities will soon follow suit.

Child with phone illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Children and Screens Announces Grant

­CHILDREN AND SCREENS ANNOUNCES $100,000 GRANT SUPPORTING NEW RESEARCH INTO DIGITAL MEDIA USE AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is pleased to announce that it has awarded a grant of $100,000 to Marc Potenza, Ph.D., MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University, Yihong Zhao, Ph.D., member of the Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies at Rutgers University, and their interdisciplinary, interinstitutional team, in support of their research exploring the associations between screen media activity and brain development in school-aged children. 
 
“It is vital to investigate what ever-increasing digital media engagement means for developing brains, especially in middle childhood when children’s devices and brains are working on overdrive. Technology is advancing rapidly, and we hope to do our part to help science keep up; we are delighted to create opportunities to advance scientific research on this topic through the Institute, which I founded 13 years ago.” Dr. Pam Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development 
 
Drawing on longitudinal data from the NIH’s landmark Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, Dr. Potenza, Dr. Zhao, and their associates intend to utilize state-of-the-art statistical methodology and predictive modeling to investigate the relationships between digital media use and changes in brain structure and function, as well as the associated clinically relevant behaviors. The study, which was proposed following the Institute’s March 2020 Digital Media and Developing Brain Research Retreat, will examine the effects of a variety of specific media-based activities and will focus on children from ages 9-12. The results of this research will yield benefits and insight not only for the research community, but also for families, clinicians, and policymakers.
 
“The advances in ‘big data’ approaches have led to an unprecedented increase in our understanding of how brain structure and function relate to specific behaviors. With the support of Children and Screens, we aim to apply novel and innovative big data approaches to ABCD data to understand how brain structure and function relate to, and importantly may be impacted by, types and patterns of screen media activity. Dr. Martin Paulus and colleagues used a portion of the first wave of ABCD data to identify patterns of cortical thinning associated with screen media activity. We hope to build off and extend this work by examining the full initial sample and subsequent waves of ABCD data to determine brain-behavior relationships with respect to youth screen media activity. We hope to communicate these findings in order to advance prevention and policy efforts that promote healthy childhood development in environments increasingly involving digital technologies.” – Dr. Marc Potenza, Grant Recipient
 
Bridging the medical, neuroscientific, social scientific, education, and academic communities, the Children and Screens’ interdisciplinary scientific research grants program was conceived as part of a larger research program to advance and support study, knowledge, and scientific collaboration. Developed in 2017, the grants program provides researchers with access to the early-stage financial support necessary to pilot worthy new projects studying the impact of children’s engagement with current and evolving technologies.
 
In addition to the research funds awarded as part of the retreat program and those granted to explore the impacts of digital media during the current health crisis, Children and Screens’ regular Tips for Parents newsletter provides evidence-based, practical advice for families coping with the unprecedented realities of the pandemic, including changed economic circumstances, health concerns, lockdowns, social distancing, remote learning, and working from home. Each newsletter features insights from world-renowned experts, who share tips and advice about managing screen time, social media use, gaming, technology addiction, privacy, parenting, and more.
 
In addition, our popular, bi-weekly Ask the Experts virtual workshop series features dynamic conversations among international, interdisciplinary experts in the field of digital media and child development. Each discussion explores a different digital media challenge associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and presents families with current scientific research, clinical advice, and practical, evidence-based advice. Panelists include leading parenting experts, former AAP Presidents, top child and adolescent psychiatrists, high-impact journal editors, leading researchers, well-known authors, and others. To date, the series has reached parents, researchers, educators, clinicians, government agencies, and public health professionals in over 30 countries and all 50 states.
 
About Children and Screens:
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness.

scholastics illustration by sara davidson for 360 Magazine

Robert George Joins Pepperdine Faculty

Philosopher and Legal Scholar Robert P. George Joins Faculty at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and School of Public Policy.

Princeton University professor Robert George has been named the inaugural Nootbaar Honorary Distinguished Professor of Law at the Caruso School of Law and the Ronald Reagan Honorary Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. George will commence his new roles at Pepperdine in fall 2021 and serve a five-year term. He will continue to serve as McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University where he is a full-time faculty member. As an honorary distinguished professor at both schools, he will be invited to give academic lectures, lead student colloquia, and participate in other speaking engagements with members of the Pepperdine community.

“I am delighted that Dr. George has accepted our invitation to affiliate with our schools of public policy and law as an honorary distinguished professor. His national platform and influential voice will elevate the conversation of respectful discourse and intellectual freedom at Pepperdine,” said Jim Gash (JD ’93), president of Pepperdine University. “Dr. George brings to Pepperdine his passion to invest in the leadership development of students, which is one of our most cherished core values.”

George was introduced to the University community at the inaugural President’s Speaker Series event in January 2021, where he joined fellow professor and political scholar Cornel West for a discussion about honesty, civility and courage through the lens of faith. During the event George expressed that universities have a sacred mission to open students’ minds to the truth and to encourage the pursuit of information from opposing sides in order to better understand and defend the truth.

“Pepperdine is one of the world’s truly great Christian universities—an institution that embodies the conviction that faith and reason are the ‘two wings on which the human spirit ascends to contemplation of truth,’” said George. “Some years ago I was delighted to speak at Pepperdine’s Commencement and become an honorary alumnus. I’m thrilled now to deepen my relationship with the University’s exceptional faculty and student body by becoming an honorary distinguished professor of law and public policy.”

The Ronald Reagan Honorary Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, which is the most distinguished of the School of Public Policy’s visiting professorships, was launched in the program’s first years and approved by Nancy Reagan. As the school’s first-ever visiting professorship, and the only professorship in the president’s name at any policy program in the United States, the position was initially endowed and facilitated by University supporter Flora L. Thornton.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Swarthmore College, George holds degrees from Harvard University and Oxford University, in addition to 22 honorary degrees. He is a recipient of the US Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The University of Dallas and the American Enterprise Institute host the Robert P. George Initiative in Faith, Ethics, and Public Policy in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is Conscience and Its Enemies.

To learn more about Dr. Robert George visit the Pepperdine Newsroom.

Five Steps for Prevention from Watson Institute Experts

The Majority of Children with Autism Are Bullied—Do You Know How to Help?

Children with autism face unique social and education challenges that require attentive support. 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism. Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Autism spectrum disorder encompasses a wide range of challenges with repetitive behaviors as well as social and communication skills.

For students with Autism, school can be daunting, as they are faced with social interactions and not feeling accepted. Coupled with that, children with Autism are at higher risk for being victimized or bullied by peers. Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied—over twice the rate of children without autism. 65% of parents report that their child had been victimized and 50% report being scared by their peers (Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing (2009)).  

These pressures can lead to refusal to attend school, anxiety or depression, and an overall decline in academic performance. This is borne out in the high school graduation rates for students with disabilities, which is only 67.1% (U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics), compared to an overall 84% graduation rate.

Clinical experts from the Watson Institute have five tips on combating bullying among all students, especially those with autism:

  1. Highlight individual strengths. Parents and teachers can be proactive by teaching children that it’s natural to expect others to be just like us, but the things that make us different are often the very things that make us special. Make a habit of complimenting students on their strengths—including in front of their peers.
  2. Widen perspectives. Teaching children to see things from more than one perspective is a key part of developing empathy. Help children connect beyond surface circumstances to underlying emotions. If a child makes fun of a student for not being good at something, ask them to reflect on something that is hard for them.
  3. Praise kindness. Children risk being teased or bullied themselves when they reach out to a student who is being bullied. It takes courage for students to act. Turn this perceived liability into an asset by applauding acts of kindness. This can be done individually, (“I saw how you stood up for Kyle and I’m really proud of you.”) and corporately, through public recognition or incentive programs.
  4. Get involved. If a bullying situation has developed, adult intervention is usually required. Leaving students to “work it out themselves” will often exacerbate or prolong a negative situation. Involve students and parents in addressing the situation. Approach the conversation with a problem-solving, not a punitive attitude.
  5. Provide support. Children can feel a range of emotions—from fear to shame and many more—when they’ve been the victim of bullying. Don’t assume because a child is no longer actively being bullied, that the situation is resolved. Make space for them to talk about their feelings and provide any additional support they need.

ABOUT THE WATSON INSTITUTE

The Watson Institute is organization providing special education programming as well as outpatient mental health services such as social skills groups, therapy, and evaluations for children ages 3 to 21.  www.thewatsoninstitute.org.