The Academic Minute The Academic Minute features researchers from colleges and universities around the world, keeping listeners abreast of what's new and exciting in the academy and of all the ways academic research contributes to solving the world's toughest problems and to serving the public good.

The Academic Minute

From WAMC Northeast Public Radio

The Academic Minute features researchers from colleges and universities around the world, keeping listeners abreast of what's new and exciting in the academy and of all the ways academic research contributes to solving the world's toughest problems and to serving the public good.

Most Recent Episodes

Karen Cerulo, Rutgers University – Dreaming of Future Possibilities

Everyone has a dream. Karen Cerulo, full professor of sociology at Rutgers University, explains how striving can make things better for everyone. Karen A. Cerulo has authored several books and articles in the areas of culture and cognition, symbol systems and meaning, inequality, media and technology, social change, and identity construction. She served as the Chair of the ASA's Culture section and Vice President of the Eastern Sociological Society. She currently edits Sociological Forum, the flagship journal of the Eastern Sociological Society. In 2013, she was named the Robin M. Williams Jr. Lecturer by the Eastern Sociological Society and won that organization's Merit Award. In 2019, she was elected to the Sociological Research Association. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_A._Cerulo Janet M. Ruane is Professor Emerita at Montclair State University. In addition to writing numerous articles, she authored three popular text books that help readers, both in the U.S. and abroad, connect with sociology and research methods. (Second Thoughts –7 editions, Essentials of Research Methods, and Introducing Social Research Methods. Her Essentials book has been translated into Chinese and Swedish.) Professor Emerita, Sociology Department, Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J. Both author's work has been widely covered in the media, including venues such as the Chicago Tribune, CNN Travel, The Conversation, DAME magazine, Le Monde, Mycentraljersey.com, The New York Daily News, The New Republic, The New York Times, North Jersey.com, Playboy, Psychology Today, The Post Courier, The Scientific American, Slate Magazine, The Times of India, and USA Today. They have also been interviewed on a variety of radio programs and podcasts: 1010 Wins news radio, The Brian Lehrer radio program (WNYC), the Freakonomics podcast/radio program, Jeff Schechtman's "Talk Cocktail" podcast, Mancow Morning Radio Show (WLUP FM), Matthew Crawford's The Curious Man podcast, and Thinking Aloud on BBC radio Dreaming of Future Possibilities https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/08-08-22-Rutgers-Dreaming-of-Future-Possibilities.mp3 Here in the US, we encourage people to dream and to dream big. Aside from the iconic American Dream—a vision of success via hard work and education—we really don't know much about the dreams American's embrace. Recently my colleague and I talked with over 270 men and women of varied backgrounds about their dreams for the future. Some were students, some working adults, some retired or unemployed. We talked to the financially secure as well as to the homeless. We also talked to people whose lives were disrupted by major illnesses or natural disasters. Here's what we learned: Dreams fall into a limited number of dream themes: adventure; career; fame, wealth and power; family; philanthropy; and self-improvement. People's age, gender, race, social class and life circumstances impact their dreams. Social and economic minorities cited dreams that were quite reserved in comparison to the dreams of White or wealthy respondents. Women were more committed to and optimistic about their dreams than men. Those facing health challenges tended to embrace positive views about dreaming and were the most confident about achieving their dreams. Many of the dreams we heard were rather practical and contained. Few people expressed dreams that were not grounded in reality. Indeed, fantastical dreaming—i.e. being able to levitate one's self or becoming invisible—was relatively rare. Lastly, we learned that dreaming was seen as an essential life activity. Whether they are realized or not, dreams are seen as the lifeblood of living. Read More: · Cerulo Karen A. and Janet M. Ruane. 2022. Dreams of a Lifetime: How Who We Are Shapes How We Imagine Our Future. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691229096/dreams-of-a-lifetime · Ruane, Janet M. and Karen A. Cerulo. 2022. "How We Dream of our Future: Seven Misconceptions We Hold" Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-future-you · Cerulo, Karen A. and Janet M. Ruane. 2022. "The Crises Keep Coming, But Americans Haven't Lost Their Ability To Dream" The Chicago Tribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-opinion-covid-19-ukraine-americans-dreams-optimism-20220523-lgxwqqueyrbbtev2hejkcrpuye-story.html · Cerulo, Karen A. and Janet M. Ruane. 2022. "How Your Class, Race and Gender Influence Your Dreams of the Future" The Conversation. https://www.registercitizen.com/news/article/How-your-race-class-and-gender-influence-your-17227362.php Reprinted in Yahoo News: https://www.yahoo.com/now/race-class-gender-influence-dreams-123309571.html The post Karen Cerulo, Rutgers University – Dreaming of Future Possibilities appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Karen Cerulo, Rutgers University – Dreaming of Future Possibilities

C. Michael White, University of Connecticut – Online Rogue Pharmacies Send Millions of Fak...

Procuring drugs outside conventional means could lead to disaster. C. Michael White, distinguished professor and chair at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, explores why. His research interests are in drug, dietary supplement, and substances of abuse safety and effectiveness. His over 440 publications in biomedical journals have been cited over 14,000 times and covered by major media television, radio, newspaper, and internet sites. He has received national awards from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Online Rogue Pharmacies Send Millions of Fake and Dangerous Pills into U.S. https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/08-05-22-Connecticut-Online-Rogue-Pharmacies-Send-Millions-of-Fake-and-Dangerous-Pills-into-US.mp3 In my study, I found that from 2016 to 2021, the FDA Office of Criminal Investigation prosecuted 130 major counterfeit drug rings. These counterfeiters made hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and the FDA seized tens of millions of pills and more than 2,000 pounds of active ingredient powder. In 65% of cases, the counterfeit products were sold over the internet, and 85% of the time, the products were obtained without a prescription. There are more than 11,000 online sites pretending to be legitimate pharmacies but are instead peddling counterfeit drugs. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy found that virtually none of the "Canadian Pharmacies" found online were actually in Canada or shipped drugs that were approved for use by Canadian citizens. Counterfeit drugs frequently have no active ingredients in them, are not manufactured to US quality standards, and can have illegal ingredients in them. For example, in early 2022, Mexican pharmacies were caught selling Americans anticoagulants with no active ingredients increasing the risk of blood clots and strokes. Additionally, a vast majority of counterfeit oxycodone or hydromorphone tablets sold in the US are made with fentanyl, contributing to our high opioid death rate in 2021. Around 19 million Americans have accessed counterfeit medications at some point. Some people turn to counterfeit drugs because they want to acquire controlled substances without a prescription. Some people are trying to acquire drugs for erectile dysfunction or to prevent unwanted pregnancies without others finding out. However, many people turn to counterfeit medications because they simply cannot afford to purchase their expensive medications. The post C. Michael White, University of Connecticut – Online Rogue Pharmacies Send Millions of Fake and Dangerous Pills into U.S. appeared first on The Academic Minute.

C. Michael White, University of Connecticut – Online Rogue Pharmacies Send Millions of Fak...

Adolfo Sequeira, University of California Irvine – Preventing Suicide Using Biomarkers

Suicide rates continue to be a growing concern. Adolfo Sequeira, associate researcher in psychiatry & human behavior at the University of California, Irvine, explores how to identify those in need of intervention. Pedro Adolfo Sequeira earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Quebec in molecular biology in 1998. He went on to earn his Master of Science from Montreal University in neurosciences in 2001, and from there his work began to earn him accolades with numerous research awards and scholarships awarded to him. He continued his education in Montreal to earn a PhD in human genetics from McGill University in 2007. He was appointed the Della Martin Fellow from 2006-2011. His main research interests are genetics, depression, neurology suicide and molecular biology. He joined the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine in 2011 to begin his work as a project scientist and from there has grown into the role of associate professor. He works alongside the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disease Research Foundation. Preventing Suicide Using Biomarkers https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/08-04-22-UCI-Preventing-Suicide-Using-BioMarkers.mp3 Suicide rates are sadly growing at an alarming pace particularly among patients suffering from major depressive disorder, the most common diagnosis observed among suicide victims. There were over 48,000 suicides last year, and in the past 2 decades suicide rates in the United States increased over 35 percent. So, we are not only looking at a tragic loss of life but also a real public health problem. Globally suicide accounts for over 800,000 deaths per year. While we have made some improvements with prevention strategies and medication, we just aren't able to prevent enough suicides. We estimate that 30 percent of those who die of suicide have visited a healthcare provider within a month of their death. On top of that we see an alarming rate of suicide in individuals occurring days to weeks after being discharged from psychiatric hospitals. We have identified in blood changes in gene expression that could be used as biomarkers for suicide to potentially develop blood tests so doctors can better evaluate an individual's risk of suicide. To figure this out, our researchers analyzed blood and brain samples from depressed suicide victims and control samples, and in doing so found specific gene expression changes in certain neurological interactions such as stress response, polyamine metabolism, circadian rhythm, immune dysregulation and telomere maintenance associated with suicide victims. Our research is the first of its kind to analyze both blood and brain samples from the same subjects in what you would term as a well-defined population of patients with Major Depressive Disorder or (MDD). Our research is bringing us closer to being able to predict who is most at risk for suicide and is going to allow us to provide even more targeted intervention and treatment, we hope that these advances will help lower the rate of suicide. Read More: [Translational Psychiatry] – Identification of potential blood biomarkers associated with suicide in major depressive disorder The post Adolfo Sequeira, University of California Irvine – Preventing Suicide Using Biomarkers appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Adolfo Sequeira, University of California Irvine – Preventing Suicide Using Biomarkers

Rachel Gevlin, Birmingham-Southern College – What Novels Can Tell Us About Gendered Respon...

Novels have always been a way to understand a time and place. Rachel Gevlin, assistant professor of English at Birmingham-Southern College, discusses this in the context of relationships. Rachel Gevlin is Assistant Professor of English at Birmingham-Southern College. She received her PhD from Duke University in 2020 and her B.A. from Bennington College in 2010. Dr. Gevlin specializes in the literature and culture of England's long eighteenth century, with a particular focus on the history of the novel, masculinity studies, and legal histories of marriage and divorce. Her current book project, Divorcing the Rake: Male Chastity and the Rise of the Novel, 1753-1857, examines the intersection of eighteenth-century divorce law with the erasure of male heterosexual conduct in novels from Samuel Richardson's Sir Charles Grandison to the works of the Brontës. In it, she argues that novels from the 1750s through the 1850s presented narratives of naturalized sexual difference that reinforced gendered biases inherent in divorce laws, generating positive social responses toward men's pre- and extra-marital sex that were not afforded to women. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in English Literary History, Eighteenth-Century Life, and The Conversation. What Novels Can Tell Us About Gendered Responses to Adultery https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/08-03-22-Birmingham-Southern-What-Novels-Can-Tell-Us-About-Gendered-Responses-to-Adultery.mp3 Novels were to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries what television and film became to the twentieth and twenty-first: a useful barometer with which to measure cultural history and social responses. Fiction both responds to and helps shape popular attitudes, and it is to fiction that I turn in my research on the history of responses to extra-marital sex. To do so, I look at the relatively modern phenomenon of divorce, which was unavailable to nearly everyone in both Britain and America throughout the eighteenth century and for much of the nineteenth. Typically, divorce was granted only if the other party had committed adultery, and those who were able to obtain a divorce were almost exclusively wealthy, well-connected men. This was, in large part, because women were for many centuries barred from owning and controlling property independent from their husbands, which made it impossible for women to pay for the enormously expensive divorce proceedings without financial support from their families. The options available to women trapped in unhappy marriages were therefore particularly slim. Despite the relative rareness of divorces during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, novels from this period frequently use divorce and its associated offense of adultery as plot devices. These novels tend to offer somewhat contradictory responses to divorce: novels by popular authors such as Frances Burney, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Brontë showcase the highly gendered legal inequalities in adjudicating cases of adultery and divorce. They also, however, tend to sympathize—through a range of subtle rhetorical moves—more with bad husbands than with bad wives. In doing so, these early novelists helped forward a "boys will be boys" attitude, even as they signaled inequalities within the law. The post Rachel Gevlin, Birmingham-Southern College – What Novels Can Tell Us About Gendered Responses to Adultery appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Rachel Gevlin, Birmingham-Southern College – What Novels Can Tell Us About Gendered Respon...

Josh Draper, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Friendship Cabins

Dining outdoors became even more en vogue during the pandemic. Josh Draper, lecturer in the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, discusses how to make it even safer going forward. Josh Draper is a professor and architect working at the intersection of material, geometry and fabrication. He joined The Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology (CASE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2014. His teaching and research at CASE is centered on waste materials, architectural research methods and phytoremediation. He received his M. Arch from GSAPP, Columbia University. Friendship Cabins https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/08-02-22-RPI-Friendship-Cabins.mp3 COVID has turned our cities inside out, forcing us to reconsider their streets. In New York City, the Open Restaurants program responded to the threat COVID posed to the restaurant industry by establishing standards for outdoor dining transforming the city with thousands of outdoor dining structures varying from the nearly ramshackle to the luxurious to the visionary. Friendship Cabins, designed by researchers at the Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology, is an outdoor dining installation at Peaches Kitchen & Bar in Brooklyn, NY. The Cabins are enclosed, isolating diners and enhancing protection for servers. They are constructed using Friendship Bottles, a prototype, interlocking plastic bottle that is designed to upcycle as a building component. This both keeps plastic out of the environment while retaining their embodied energy. The structures are designed for 105 mph winds, stronger than Hurricane Sandy, and shake table-tested. Easy-to-build, modular and moveable, the Cabins envision flexible urban programming that can be shifted for street maintenance, expanded or upgraded all using local waste as its main building component. Their translucent walls produce kaleidoscopic effects with sun during the day and vehicle headlights at night. While part of a working restaurant, Friendship Cabins are also research testbeds. Near-term efforts include renewably powered lighting and ventilation systems with advanced sensing to address a hard lesson of COVID: even now, air in restaurants is under-addressed and under-regulated. How can businesses measure and provide healthier, cleaner air going forward? How does the restaurant industry develop a new kind of resilient hospitality? Efforts towards urban resiliency are complex. Friendship Cabins begin to imagine a new way to inhabit city streets that could democratize the building process using local waste, while enhancing our health, safety and experience. Read More: Jody Kivort for Friendship Products LLC Jody Kivort for Friendship Products LLC Jody Kivort for Friendship Products LLC Jody Kivort for Friendship Products LLC Friendship Cabins Assembly Diagram: The Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology Friendship Cabins Hospitality and Health Research Vision Diagram: The Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology Friendship Cabins and the Future of Outdoor Dining https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8qdH7LeJMo New York Loves Outdoor Dining. Here's How to Keep the Romance Alive. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/29/dining/outdoor-dining-nyc.html These cozy dining cabins are made from hundreds of plastic bottles https://www.fastcompany.com/90675118/these-cozy-dining-cabins-are-made-from-hundreds-of-plastic-bottles Third wave Open Streets: Open for whom? https://archinect.com/news/article/150272017/third-wave-open-streets-open-for-whom These Outdoor Dining Structures and Open Streets Won 'Alfresco' Awards https://gothamist.com/food/these-outdoor-dining-structures-and-open-streets-won-alfresco-awards 14 projects improving water around the world, whether in our oceans or what we drink https://www.fastcompany.com/90742799/world-changing-ideas-awards-2022-water-finalists-and-honorable-mentions Awards: Friendship Cabins: Alfresco NYC Best Outdoor Dining Structures // Winner; Special citation for Sustainable Design https://rpa.org/latest/news-release/alfresco-awards-open-streets-outdoor-dining-nyc-release Friendship Cabins: Fast Company's 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards // Water // Honorable Mention https://www.fastcompany.com/90742799/world-changing-ideas-awards-2022-water-finalists-and-honorable-mentions 2021 Architizer A+ Awards // Architecture +Sustainability // Special Mention https://winners.architizerawards.com/2021/Plus/concepts-11/architecture-sustainability-9/ The post Josh Draper, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Friendship Cabins appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Josh Draper, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Friendship Cabins

Lynn Addington, American University – Pandemic Planning with Older Adults in Mind

Everyone has had a hard time during the pandemic, but one group in particular has suffered more. Lynn Addington, professor of justice, law and criminology at American University, discusses how to make the next pandemic easier. Lynn A. Addington, JD, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University in Washington, D.C. Her research focuses on fatal and non-fatal violent victimization (with an emphasis on understudied victims) and post-victimization responses. Her work also considers the ways to better connect research with practice and policy. In 2016, she received AU's top award for faculty research. Her publications have appeared in a range of outlets including the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Justice Quarterly, and Trauma, Violence and Abuse. Pandemic Planning with Older Adults in Mind https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/08-01-22-American-Pandemic-Planning-with-Older-Adults-in-Mind.mp3 Frantically searching for face masks and hand sanitizer; nervously sheltering in our homes; scrambling for vaccination appointments — we all felt vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. These feelings were amplified for the oldest among us. These challenging times have highlighted our need to be better prepared for the inevitable next pandemic and to specifically include older adults. Our planning must include the expertise of local community groups and their established relationships with older adults. One example of these groups is villages — non-profit, grassroots organizations across the US that support neighbors who want to age in place. My recent research highlights two reasons why villages are essential to our planning for future public health emergencies. First, villages know their members and can assess the needs of our older neighbors. Second, they can deploy existing and trusted volunteer networks to implement vital services in times of crisis. Before the pandemic, villages sponsored social activities and coordinated volunteers to provide transportation, run errands, and perform home maintenance chores. During the pandemic, many villages found ways to continue and expand their work. My study of Washington, DC-area villages shows they quickly added a range of pandemic-specific services for thousands of older adults. These included sharing public health updates and vaccine information, scheduling online vaccination appointments, distributing personal protective equipment, and combating social isolation by offering Zoom classes and regular phone check-ins to individuals who were not able to leave their homes. Villages also continued to run essential errands and shopping. While we don't know if we are at the end of the pandemic, we do know that future public-health emergencies will arise. Villages around the country can provide critical insights and incorporate the needs of older adults as we plan for these emergencies. The post Lynn Addington, American University – Pandemic Planning with Older Adults in Mind appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Lynn Addington, American University – Pandemic Planning with Older Adults in Mind

Mary Koss, University of Arizona – Alcohol and Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Sexual assault is a major problem on college campuses. Mary Koss, regents professor of public health at the University of Arizona, says alcohol is becoming even more prevalent in these attacks. Sexual assault scholar, APA award winner for empirical contributions to public policy (2000) and international advancement of psychology (2017). Did first national survey of sexual violence victimization and perpetration in 1987, to which the term "date rape" is credited. Designed and implemented the first restorative justice program for adult sex crimes called RESTORE. Challenged serial rape in 2015 JAMA-Pediatrics. Promoted victim voice in 2017, American Psychologist. Grantee, NIAAA. Featured on This American Life. Alcohol and Sexual Assault on College Campuses https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/07-29-22-Arizona-Alcohol-and-Sexual-Assault-on-College-Campuses.mp3 One of every three women say they have been a victim of sexual assault either when they were in high school or college. That's according to my recent peer-reviewed survey. That figure is significantly higher than thirty years ago when I conducted the first national survey of college students. Back then, the victimization rate was one in four. 75% of recent incidents involved victims who were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or stop what was happening. That's up from 50% in the mid-1980s. I used the federal definition of rape.That definition goes beyond forcible rape and includes oral, anal or vaginal penetration when the victim is incapacitated. Thirty years ago, one in 19 men admitted committing sexual assault while in high school or college. That number has increased to one in 8. One thing that hasn't changed is that 90% of the men who sexually assaulted did it by taking advantage of a drunk women. They often used relentless pressure to make their intended victims drink more than they wanted. For years colleges have been trying to reduce irresponsible drinking and associated sexual harm. If the rate of rape is going up instead of down, it calls the effectiveness of these efforts into question, a conclusion supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An agenda of interventions to reduce perpetration including modifying drinking environments both on campus and in bars surrounding them may be more successful. The post Mary Koss, University of Arizona – Alcohol and Sexual Assault on College Campuses appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Mary Koss, University of Arizona – Alcohol and Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Tallie Z. Baram, University of California Irvine – Early Adversity and Brain Development

Early life adversities can have a lifelong impact. Tallie Z. Baram, distinguished professor in the Departments of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Pediatrics, Neurology, and Physiology & Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine, determines why. Prof. Tallie Z. Baram is the Danette Shepard Professor of Neurological Sciences, with appointments in several departments at UCI. Baram is a developmental neuroscientist and child neurologist and has focused her efforts on the influence of early-life experiences on the developing brain, and on the underlying mechanisms. She is studying this broad topic in two contexts: a) How early-life experiences, including adversity/stress, influence resilience and vulnerability to cognitive and emotional disorders; and b) how early-life seizures, especially those associated with fever, can convert a normal brain into an epileptic one, with associated memory problems. Baram has strong track-records in the use of cutting-edge molecular, epigenetic, and MR imaging methods to uncover how adverse early-life experiences sculpt circuit maturation in the developing brain, focusing on memory-, stress- and reward-related networks. Baram and her work have been internationally recognized, as is apparent from awards including the NIH NINDS Javits Merit Award and the premier Research Awards of the AES (2005), CNS (2013), ANA (2014) and AAN (2018). Baram continually strives to contribute to the scientific community by, for example, chairing NIH study sections and involvement in editorial boards and professional organizations. Baram has a passion and commitment to mentoring: She is the Principal Investigators of one of only two NIH-funded T32s focused on Epilepsy, and mentor of several recently funded NIH K awardees. Baram's prior trainees from diverse countries and backgrounds are now contributing independently to basic, translational and clinical neuroscience. Early Adversity and Brain Development https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/07-28-22-UCI-Early-Adversity-and-Brain-Development.mp3 The experiences you go through as a child have an important role to play as an adult. While we knew this, there was no solid scientific research to back this up until now. As a researcher, I spend a lot of my time focusing on the function of our brain and how it develops over time. In my recent research, I studied how the poor function of the microglia, which are the brain's immune cells, in individuals exposed to early life adversity promotes abnormal responses to stress in adulthood that may lead to mental illness. In our childhood, when our brains develop, microglia prune unnecessary synapses resulting in formation of functional circuits. When the process leaves too many synapses, behavioral and hormonal responses are seen later in life. To prove this, we researched how early life adversity in animals leads to reduce microglial processing dynamics when induced at sensitive stages in brain development. Through a mouse model, we studied how mice of both sexes housed in temperature-controlled with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark, with differing nesting material produced mouse pups with more vulnerability to stress. After our study, we found hormone expressing neurons, resulting from disrupted developmental synapses by affected microglia. The next step in our research is to identify if the molecules that lead to microglial dysfunction can be used to prevent their malfunction. If were able to identify these molecules and their resulting vulnerability to stress in mice, we may be able to translate it to people. Through our research, we're one step closer to treating numerous neurological and mental disorders like Alzheimer's disease. The post Tallie Z. Baram, University of California Irvine – Early Adversity and Brain Development appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Tallie Z. Baram, University of California Irvine – Early Adversity and Brain Development

Amity Noltemeyer, Miami University – Student and Staff Wellness Needs in the Pandemic Context

Schools have had a tough time dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Amity Noltemeyer, professor of school psychology at Miami University, examines the impacts. Dr. Amity Noltemeyer is a Professor of School Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Miami University. She serves as one of six-co leads on the Ohio School Wellness Initiative (OSWI). Dr. Noltemeyer also has previous experience as a department chair, President of the Ohio School Psychologists Association, Editor-in-Chief of School Psychology International journal, and a practicing school psychologist. Student and Staff Wellness Needs in the Pandemic Context https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/07-27-22-Miami-Student-and-Staff-Wellness-Needs-in-the-Pandemic-Context.mp3 The COVID-19 pandemic has been a disruptive force in the lives of many people, and students and teachers in K-12 schools are no exception. As part of the Ohio School Wellness Initiative, our team sought to better understand how student and staff mental health and wellness needs had changed since the pandemic started. We surveyed staff in 116 Ohio schools in mid-2021, finding that 75% or more reported increases in students' moderate to severe depression, anxiety, and social isolation since the pandemic started. More than half also reported increased concern for student grief and loss, trauma exposure, and suicidal ideation or attempts. In a separate survey of 915 school staff, we found that the mental health of school staff was also affected. More than half of staff reported increased concern for themselves because of emotional exhaustion and anxiety since the pandemic began, and over 75% reported these were currently concerns in their lives. Although we also found that schools were attempting to implement supports to address these issues, this varied widely and not all who needed services had access. The surveys also revealed barriers to providing student and staff wellness support, including limited staffing, training, and time for planning and implementation. Our project team used information from these surveys to inform our work with over 70 Ohio schools. These schools are beginning to implement Student Assistance Programs, a framework designed to prevent and address non-academic barriers to learning including mental health concerns and substance use. These schools are also planning and implementing staff wellness programming, with a holistic focus on 8 dimensions of wellness. Although there is no quick fix to address the needs revealed in our survey, implementing evidence-informed frameworks to support student and staff wellness is an important step in the right direction. The post Amity Noltemeyer, Miami University – Student and Staff Wellness Needs in the Pandemic Context appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Amity Noltemeyer, Miami University – Student and Staff Wellness Needs in the Pandemic Context

Evan Larson, University of Wisconsin Platteville – Bringing People into the Wilderness

How we think of certain spaces may need to be reimagined. Evan Larson, professor of environmental sciences & society at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, looks at one example. Evan Larson (he/him/his) is a Professor of Environmental Sciences & Society at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, a primarily undergraduate institution in the beautiful rolling hills of the Driftless Area. His expertise in dendrochronology, the science of tree rings, and biogeography, the study of patterns in the distribution of life on Earth and the processes that shape them, enable him to combine scholarship, a love of teaching, and an enthusiasm for working outside into classes and research that blur the boundaries between the physical and social sciences. He is fortunate to work with amazing colleagues who together are re-storying the relationships among people, fire, and pine in the Great Lakes Region. Bringing People into the Wilderness https://academicminute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/07-26-22-UW-Platteville-Bringing-People-into-the-Wilderness.mp3 I am going to say a word. I want you to listen closely, and then focus on the picture or sense this word inspires. Ready? Wilderness. Wilderness. Do you have it? What did you see? Mountains? Dark forests? Lakes, rivers, crystal clear water? Boundless horizons? What about people? How do people fit into your picture of Wilderness? What about fire, flames, smoke? What is Wilderness, really? Are there implications of thinking of wilderness as unpeopled... empty of humanity and its influences? The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was one of the original protected landscapes established by the 1964 Wilderness Act. It is a magical place with hundreds of navigable lakes, interconnected by streams, wetlands, and portages. New research in the field of dendrochronology, or tree-ring science, is helping tell a 500-year story of fire in the forests of the Boundary Waters as written in the rings of long-dead red pine trees. In some places fires maintained open forests and created the conditions necessary for new generations of red pine. This history also clearly illustrates how the area's indigenous people, the Anishinaabe, used fire to tend the landscape. The landscape that we think of today as wilderness. The lessons from these tree-ring data, alongside other evidence, weave together with Anishinaabe stories and traditional knowledge that celebrate fire as a process through which reciprocal relationships between people and land are built, nurtured, and maintained across generations. Thinking of wilderness as unpeopled is dismissive of the long history of Indigenous people and their active participation in the community of life in this region and beyond. In the Boundary Waters, a history of fire makes long-term connections between people and place evident. It is reshaping our understanding of wilderness into a deeper and more meaningful connection between people and land with lessons about our responsibilities to each other and the world around us. The post Evan Larson, University of Wisconsin Platteville – Bringing People into the Wilderness appeared first on The Academic Minute.

Evan Larson, University of Wisconsin Platteville – Bringing People into the Wilderness