New Grant Supports N.H. Early Childhood STEM Teachers

February 20, 2017

teacher with student

The University of New Hampshire was awarded a $200,000 grant from 100Kin10, the national network that aims to train and retain 100,000 excellent K-12 STEM teachers by 2021. The award will support an online professional development program for pre-K to third grade math teachers in New Hampshire.

“We are so excited for this opportunity to collaborate with the UNH Leitzel Center, the state Department of Education, New Hampshire teachers of mathematics and 100Kin10 to support pre-K to third grade teachers throughout all of New Hampshire in their teaching of mathematics,” says Diane Silva Pimentel, assistant professor of education in UNH’s College of Liberal Arts. “We will work hard to establish a statewide network where teachers and organizations committed to improving mathematics education can engage in vital discussions and learning related to preparing young children to be successful in mathematics. We see this as another step in our long-term commitment to the teachers and students of New Hampshire.”

The three main components of the two-year project are online coursework and professional learning community participation focused on both pedagogy and content, on-site coaching, and a yearly summit that includes professional development and time for teachers across grade levels and school sites to collaborate. The project will be led by Pimentel along with Karen Graham and Sheree Sharpe in mathematics and Brandie Bolduc in education.

“To better prepare all students to solve the world’s most pressing problems, we need to help teachers deliver STEM content in active ways that support their students’ creative use of this knowledge,” said 100Kin10 Executive Director Talia Milgrom-Elcott.

The UNH initiative is one of 10 projects supported by 100Kin10 this year as part of their Early Childhood STEM Learning Challenge, a commitment to encourage the use of design thinking and solutions from outside fields to solve complex problems in STEM education.


UNH Political Scientist Named Visiting Scholar at Harvard

February 17, 2017

photo of Elizabeth Carter

Elizabeth Carter, assistant professor of political science, has been named a visiting scholar at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES) at Harvard University. She is currently in residence at the Center for the spring 2017 term.

At CES, Carter is working on her book project “For What it’s Worth: The Politics of Market Barriers in European Luxury Markets.” The project investigates linkages between political organization, market protection and value construction in luxury markets in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the European Union. She is analyzing dynamics between trust and power across the supply chain, and their relationship to prices and perceived production quality.

Carter earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of California Berkeley. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. Her dissertation focused on producer organization and the creation of value in the French and Italian wine markets. Her current research interests include supply chain organization, regulatory politics and price theory.

This year, CES is hosting 25 social scientists from a range of disciplines who are carrying out innovative research on Europe while in residence at the Center. CES is the premier academic institution for the study of European history and culture, as well as for debate and discussion on contemporary Europe and its future role in world affairs.


UNH and CCSNH Receive Mellon Foundation Grant to Support the Humanities

February 10, 2017

humanities class in session

Thanks to a $824,000 grant over three years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of New Hampshire and the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) will establish the New Hampshire Humanities Collaborative to promote study of the humanities, support the transfer of community college students in the humanities to the university and develop a humanities curriculum focused on grand challenges.

“This collaborative will illuminate the value of the humanities for civic well-being and career advancement by communicating to students the role of the humanities in providing a well-rounded education experience,” said UNH President Mark Huddleston. “It will also allow us to expand our partnership with the state’s community colleges.”

Currently about 700 students transfer from community colleges in New Hampshire to University System of New Hampshire institutions each year. Of those, only three percent enroll in humanities majors compared to the more than 20 percent who enroll in STEM majors.

“We’ve successfully partnered to provide pathways for community college students to matriculate into four-year programs but those efforts to date have been primarily focused on the STEM fields,” said Ross Gittell, chancellor of CCSNH. “The support from the Mellon Foundation will help us to not only illustrate the purpose and value of the humanities, but enhance our curricula and provide pathways for more students to pursue associate and bachelor degrees in the humanities.”

According to Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UNH, the value of a humanities education may not be evident to students, whether they are enrolled at community colleges or four-year universities. “The humanities are vital to our democracy and for addressing the grand challenges of our age, such as health care, urbanization, food sovereignty and the role of technology in human relations and discourse. Although these challenges are sometimes seen as the purview of STEM fields alone, the humanities are crucial for articulating relevant responses and enabling respectful civic discourse.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.


New Book Examines Border Conflicts in North America

February 7, 2017

book cover

Laurence Armand French, senior researcher and affiliate professor of justice studies, has published a new book, co–written with Magdaleno Manzanarez, professor of political science at Western New Mexico University, titled “North American Border Conflicts: Race, Politics, and Ethics” (CRC Press, 2016).

“North American Border Conflicts” examines border conflicts from their beginnings at European settlement and aboriginal tribe contact to the ensuing colonial border battles, the emerging United States and its expansionist mandate, and the neocolonial conflicts of the 20th century. The book explores 21st century border issues such as post-9/11 policies that impact North American and Canadian border Indian tribes and the drug and human trafficking  concerns at the Mexico-U.S. border. “North American Border Conflicts” adds to the current discussion on class, race, ethnic and sectarian divides, not only within the United States but throughout the Americas in general. In an increasingly global world, the text offers insight into issues among and between neighboring nations.

The history and geopolitics explored by “North American Border Conflicts” are particularly pertinent at this moment in United States history as federal government concern over border security has increased.

“North American border issues are complex,” says French. “They cannot be easily dismissed by inflammatory rhetoric claiming simple solutions that will supposedly immediately change the landscape of interactions that extend to the beginning of U.S. independence.

“‘Nationalism’ is often associated with sectarian/ethnic elitism and is a dangerous foreign policy construct — look at the recent Balkan wars,” adds French. “Everyone who lives in this hemisphere is ‘American’ and if preference and consideration is given to any group, it should be the ‘indigenous’ Americans.”

French and Manzanarez have researched collaboratively for the past 20 years in the areas of international relations, social justice, and minority issues with a particular focus on indigenous Indian groups. In 2004, they co-authored “NAFTA and Neocolonialism: Comparative Criminal, Human, and Social Justice” (University Press of America).

“North American Border Conflicts: Race, Politics, and Ethics” is available from CRC Press and major online retailers.


Innovator of the Week: Sharyn Potter

February 6, 2017

Sharyn Potter

Sharyn Potter, associate professor of sociology and executive director of research for Prevention Innovations Research Center, was recently featured as Innovator of the Week on the Live Free and Start website.

Live Free and Start is a joint initiative of the N.H. Governor’s Office, the Business Finance Authority and the Department of Resources and Economic Development aimed at creating jobs and making New Hampshire the place for innovative businesses to start, grow and succeed.

Potter was highlighted for her leadership in developing the innovative uSafeNH free smartphone application (app), which launched this past fall. The app was created to prevent sexual assault on New Hampshire campuses by providing victims and their allies with access to immediate assistance and resources. It is available to students at 26 of the state’s colleges and universities.

Several organizations partnered to create the uSafeNH app: Prevention Innovations Research Center, the STEM Discovery Lab at UNH Manchester, N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, NH Violence Against Women Campus Consortium, and N.H. SART Project at the Attorney General’s Office. The effort won a $25,000 prize from the N.H. Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurs’ Fund that helped the team complete development and testing of the app.

In August 2017, the uSafeUS app will launch, expanding the app’s reach to campuses up and down the East Coast. uSafeUS won third prize at the UNH Social Venture Innovation Challenge in December 2016. An anonymous donor matched the third prize money, enabling Potter and the team to market uSafeUS.

“The mobile app developed by faculty researchers and community practitioners from around the state is an example of how UNH continues to meet their land grant commitment by collaboratively developing solutions for societal problems,” says Potter.

Learn more at Live Free and Start website.


UNH Classics Professor Awarded Research Fellowship in Germany

February 3, 2017

Harriet Fertik

Harriet Fertik, assistant professor of classics, has been awarded a research fellowship for postdoctoral researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She will spend the academic year 2017-2018 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables highly-qualified scientists and scholars from abroad who are just embarking on their academic careers and who completed their doctorates less than four years ago to spend extended periods of research in Germany.

During her fellowship, Fertik will work on a new book project, “Outside the Ideal Community: Spaces for Education and Politics in Greco-Roman Antiquity and the Works of W. E. B. Du Bois.” She will investigate education in political communities that do not value the equal participation of its citizens in public discourse and action.

“While much work at the intersection of political and educational philosophy in classical studies focuses on the formation of the ideal community and how to educate its members,” says Fertik, “I investigate how, where and why education takes place when these ideals cannot be realized. I will use W. E. B. Du Bois’ discussions of classical training for African Americans to frame my study of education and politics in the ancient world.”

While recent scholarship has paid greater attention to the influence of Du Bois’ classical training in his thinking about politics, education and race, says Fertik, no one has yet examined the potential of Du Bois’ work to shed light on key issues in classical antiquity.

Humboldt-Universität has an active program in African-American studies, and Du Bois himself was a doctoral student there in the late 19th century.

“The Humboldt fellowship will give me the time necessary to make significant progress in researching and writing this book,” says Fertik.

Fertik has also received a faculty fellowship from the UNH Center for the Humanities to support this project.


UNH Research Finds Trump Voters Stand Apart on Renewable Energy and Climate

February 2, 2017

key findings chart

Only 25 percent of those who say they voted for Donald Trump agree with the scientific consensus that human activities are changing Earth’s climate, according to new survey research at UNH. In contrast, large majorities of Clinton voters as well as third-party voters and nonvoters believe humans are causing climate change and want to see renewable energy development be a priority.

Climate change received little media attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, but recent surveys indicate that climate change and related energy issues are taken seriously by a growing majority of the public. Almost three-fourths of Americans surveyed after the election said that renewable energy should be a higher national priority than more drilling for oil and about two-thirds agree with the scientific consensus that humans are changing Earth’s climate.

“We saw a common theme when talking about what actions those surveyed wanted to see to reduce the risks of climate change,” said Larry Hamilton, professor of sociology and a senior Carsey fellow. “While renewable energy and lifestyle changes were popular, cap-and-trade and carbon tax were not. Overall, Trump voters are much less likely than other voter groups to support any action to reduce the risks of climate change.”

“Although public recognition and a sense of urgency lag behind science, they are measurably rising,” Hamilton added. “Given the outcome of the 2016 election and the belief patterns seen in these surveys, the willingness of the U.S. to respond is in question.”

The full report can be found here: https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/energy-climate-trump.


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