Recommencement

June 29, 2018

photo of Jessica Nadeau
Mostly, it was about the tassel. And her parents seeing her there on the field with the rest of her class on commencement day, celebrating the last four years and all the hard work that went into making it through them. And sharing the experience with her twin sister, Arianna, who had graduated from UNH Manchester two days earlier.

Jessica Nadeau ’18 missed it all. Just days before UNH’s May 19 commencement she was sidelined by a medical event. For the psychology and justice studies dual major, there was no throwing her cap in the air, no singing along to “Happy Trails,” no standing on her seat to search the crowd for her family.

And she was crushed.

But then, Joan Glutting, clinical associate professor of psychology, came up with an idea. She would hold a “recommencement” and invite Nadeau’s parents and sister to attend. She asked a couple of faculty members to join in. The response, she said, was incredible.

“I thought I’d get maybe three people. I got 15,” Glutting said.

So, she emailed Nadeau’s mother, Heidi Nadeau, and cemented the plan. Shortly before 3 p.m. on Monday, June 11, the family gathered under the arch at Thompson Hall where Styliani Munroe ’17 was waiting. Jessica Nadeau laughed as she hugged her friend and former classmate.

“It was hard to keep it a secret — we talk every day,” Munroe said. “I felt very sad for her when she couldn’t go to commencement. I’m so happy they could do this for her.”

As they stood there, one faculty member after another walked up until all 15 were assembled. Nadeau just kept grinning while her family looked on in awe. Her father, Serge Nadeau, took a minute to collect himself and then said, “The fact that UNH did this speaks volumes.”

“That they put this together for one student is so incredible,” Heidi Nadeau said. “She was devastated to miss graduation. Something as simple as being able to move your tassel over — you don’t realize how much these things mean.”

It seems Glutting did. She printed a program. There was a processional; Nadeau’s boyfriend and sister walked with her behind Barbara White, associate professor of occupational therapy, and Charles Putnam, co-director of Justiceworks. The other faculty members stood near the flagpole. Nadeau, her boyfriend and her sister stood shoulder to shoulder, facing the group.

“I am truly grateful and appreciative to all of the people that helped to create that moment for me,” the Auburn, New Hampshire, resident said after the ceremony. “There are not enough words to describe the happiness and joy that I felt. Having all of the faculty take time out of their busy days just to come to a ‘recommencement’ ceremony was incredibly humbling.”

During the ceremony, Glutting commended Nadeau for all her hard work. “You completed three internships while you were here. You got multiple job offers; you could have chosen a job that was a little safer, but you didn’t,” she said. (Nadeau starts work in July at Hampstead Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Hampstead, New Hampshire.) “You embody all that a UNH student can be.”

She offered what she called a five-minute recap of commencement, citing remarks made by L.L. Bean Chairman Shawn Gorman ’89, this year’s speaker. A faculty member started the call-response “It’s a great day to be a Wildcat.” Senior vice provost of student life and dean of students Ted Kirkpatrick presented Nadeau with her diploma. Cristy Beemer, associate professor of English, led the group in singing the UNH alma mater.

And then, Nadeau turned her tassel.

Story written by Jody Record for UNH Today.


The (603) Challenge

June 1, 2018

stack of books with 603 logo

This year’s 603 Challenge begins at noon on Sunday, June 3 and runs through June 8 at 6 p.m.

As we face the grand challenges of our time, the liberal arts are more essential than ever. Your gift enables students and faculty to tackle the world’s pressing problems by supporting experiential learning, new employer partnerships and career pathways, innovative and interdisciplinary programs, and faculty research and creativity. Thank you for being part of the solution.

Respond early at unh.edu/603 to take advantage of matching funds. Be sure to designate your gift for the College of Liberal Arts or your favorite COLA program.


UNH Receives Mellon Foundation Grant to Take the Humanities to the Public

May 30, 2018

Thompson Hall

The University of New Hampshire has received a three-year $724,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will be used by the Center for the Humanities to host residential summer institutes that will train humanists to work in the public realm and embrace community engagement.

“We’re thrilled to have this support from the Mellon Foundation,” said Burt Feintuch, director of the UNH Center for the Humanities and professor of folklore and English. “The humanities help us think about how to live good lives in complicated times. This work is critically important in public life, and our week-long boot camps will help faculty and students think about how to contribute to the public good, how to reflect on social issues, how to think about the present in the context of the past, how to figure out what matters in the face of massive change. Our goal is to help humanities faculty develop innovative and meaningful ways to connect to civic life and for students to think about real-world applications of their classroom experiences and about possible career paths.”

The New England Humanities Consortium, a network of academic humanities centers and institutes in the region, will co-sponsor the boot camps. Member institutions will nominate participants and the boot camps will also include faculty and students from Howard University, building on a history of successful collaboration between UNH and Howard.

“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,” said Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “We have a well-established history of engaged scholarship and the summer boot camps are a natural next step for the university in the evolution of our public-facing trajectory. We are grateful for the support of the Mellon Foundation as we continue to prepare our students for professional success and meaningful lives that support the wider society.”

This grant is part of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s continued support for academic institutions as they endeavor to demonstrate, through counter-narratives offered by public humanities programs and initiatives, the essential relevance of the humanities to productive civic dialogue.

Post written by Erika Mantz.


Outstanding Teacher-Scholar

March 6, 2018

Paula Salvio, chair and professor of education, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Lindberg Award, given annually to the outstanding teacher-scholar in the College of Liberal Arts.

Appointed to the faculty in 1992, Professor Salvio is an interdisciplinary scholar who focuses on the cultural and historical foundations of education with a specialization in psychoanalysis, life-writing and the impact that marginalization, trauma and war have on women, children and youth in formal and informal educational settings. She explores transitional moments in history and society – reform, wars and revolution and their aftermaths – and how these affect the relations of education, culture and politics.

“Professor Salvio epitomizes the kind of interdisciplinary work that is a hallmark of Liberal Arts at UNH,” says Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “She works skillfully across several areas of expertise to address educational reform. She represents core values of UNH such as excellence and inclusion.”

Professor Salvio’s publications reflect an innovative and broad approach to educational studies, applying diverse theoretical frameworks and modes of inquiry to a variety of educational situations and settings. Her most recent book is “The Story-Takers: Public Pedagogy and Contemporary Italy’s Non-Violent Resistance Against the Mafia” (University of Toronto Press, 2017).

Professor Salvio teaches a wide range of courses to both undergraduate and graduate students, and has served on or chaired dozens of dissertation committees in the departments of Education, English and Psychology. Students say she goes above and beyond, working vigorously to advise and advocate for them in their professional development.

“Professor Salvio is a true teacher-scholar, bringing her work to the classroom and to the world,” says Bostic. “The kind of work she does prepares young people to face the grand challenges of today and tomorrow.”


Philanthropy Supports COLA Rutman Lecture, Scholarships

February 5, 2018

More than $8 million in new philanthropy was announced today by UNH. Some of the funds will directly benefit College of Liberal Arts programs and students. J. Morgan Rutman ‘84 and his wife Tara will fund an endowment to provide ongoing support for the Distinguished Lecture Series on the American Presidency, which was established in honor of his parents. Rutman’s father was a professor of history at UNH from 1968 to 1984. Brian McCabe ‘91 and his wife Loren ‘90, ‘91G established the McCabe Family Scholarship with their gift. It will provide need-based scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students studying education. Dana Hamel has increased his support of the Hamel Scholars and Hamel Scholarships Program with an additional gift of $5 million, which provides scholarships and support for UNH students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and community involvement. Liberal Arts students are among those who have benefited from the Hamel programs.

Read the full story in UNH Today.


The Truth About Marijuana

January 16, 2018

book cover

A dangerous gateway drug? A harmless recreational substance? Something in between? In their new book “Marijuana: Examining the Facts,” Karen T. Van Gundy and Michael S. Staunton look at the data that can help provide answers to these questions and more.

“It’s the sort of book I thought I would want to write, and it was time for us to have a book like this,” explains Van Gundy, associate professor of sociology, core faculty in justice studies and faculty fellow at UNH’s Carsey School of Public Policy. “But we didn’t realize how timely it would be with the current state and national debates.”

ABC-CLIO, a publisher of reference and professional development resources, contacted Van Gundy about writing the book as a go-to source for information on the positive and negative impacts of marijuana. Van Gundy invited Staunton, a doctoral candidate in sociology who has also worked as a graduate research assistant at the Carsey School, to collaborate on the book with her.

“I like to collaborate with graduate students,” she says, adding. “I would not have been able to write this book without Michael.”

“And I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do this without Karen,” Staunton echoes.

Over many months, Van Gundy and Staunton pored over research from fields including medicine, criminology, psychology and sociology to examine claims made about marijuana. “We came at the topic with no agenda,” Van Gundy explains. “Our goal was to do the research into the medical and legal implications.”

The book focuses on key topics — patterns and trends, risks and benefits and policy considerations — and examines data on marijuana use and misuse trends in the country. “We organized the book around questions such as whether marijuana use is more widespread than ever before,” Van Gundy says, adding she and Staunton evaluated claims about medical risks, examined the history of marijuana legislation and looked at potential causes and consequences of marijuana use. “We came up with questions that could be taught in classes,” says Van Gundy, who is in the process of developing a course around the book. “It really gets at that critical thinking.”

“We wanted it to be readable without falling into the trap of oversimplifying. This was the challenge,” Staunton adds. “We did a fair bit of delving into the methods used to get specific statistics.”

And there were many discoveries in their research. For example, the patterns and trends they examined indicate marijuana use among adults has increased in the past decade, but marijuana misuse has not. “No matter what the laws are, we generally don’t see misuse fluctuate that much,” Van Gundy says, “and youth are using and misusing at lower rates.” For the purposes of the research, “use” refers to any self-reported use of marijuana during a period of time while “misuse” refers to self-reported symptoms that qualify respondents for marijuana use disorder, such as abuse or dependence.

“The myths, realities and perceptions have changed dramatically over time,” Staunton adds, but he notes there have always been misconceptions, ranging from the marijuana-makes-murderers theme of cult classic Reefer Madness in the 1930s to the perception that marijuana use brings a complete lack of motivation that was pervasive in the 1960s.

Van Gundy and Staunton’s research also indicates medical marijuana laws have not contributed to increases in the use of other psychoactive substances or opioid overdose rates, while a large number of studies show the therapeutic utility of the drug for certain kinds of conditions. As for the perception that marijuana is a gateway drug, Van Gundy notes the research does not support the idea that marijuana use causes misuse of more dangerous substances, with the indication that drug abuse typically has more to do with toxic environments.

With so many Americans having personal experience with marijuana either by trying it themselves or knowing people who have, “research means challenging personal assumptions,” Staunton says.

“It’s not about what you think. It’s about what the science says,” Van Gundy adds. “You can’t take just one story and say it is the end-all be-all.”

Learn more about “Marijuana: Examining the Facts.”

post source: article written by Jennifer Saunders in UNH Today


The Story-Takers

January 8, 2018

book cover

In Italy, shrines stand as testament to those who have been murdered by the mafia, and the trauma of those left behind has inspired a movement by educators, activists, artists and journalists striving for justice.

That movement has inspired Paula M. Salvio’s latest book, “The Story-Takers: Public Pedagogy, Transitional Justice, and Italy’s Non-Violent Protest Against the Mafia.”

Salvio, professor and chair in COLA’s education department and affiliate faculty in classics, humanities and Italian studies, shares the story behind her book and the discoveries she has made in her research and writing process.

UNH: What was the inspiration for this book?

Paula Salvio: Italy has a long history of non-violent protest against the mafia. In fact, while the mafia has generated enormous public attention, the antimafia has kept a very low profile. When I began this study in 2008, I wanted to understand the ways in which non-violent practices used by community organizers, educators, photo-journalists and artists were used to educate their communities about mafia violence in an age of neoliberalism. The source of inspiration for this work emerged from the ingenuity, sense of solidarity and courage of antimafia activists working in Sicily. Their work is particularly timely, given that the global and financial ambitions of today’s mafia are difficult to distinguish from that of global corporations.

UNH: Could you describe the research process involved in preparing to write this work?

Salvio: My research process is firmly grounded in archival research, which includes Facebook, blogs, spontaneous shrines and Tweets, and post-colonial narrative inquiry. It’s been said that the modern allure of the archive has much to do with a Freudian romance of finding all the lost things and names, whatever they might be: Things gone astray, lost, squandered, wasted. Jules Michelet described the archive as a site where the scholar breathes in the dust of the dead, communes with them and makes them live again. While this description remains open to serious critique, I admit that it calls out to me and influences my research process.

In the archive, I look not only for what is there but for what is absent or disappeared. This is evident in my chapter on antimafia activist Francesca Morvillo’s Facebook site. While the site was established to keep Morvillo’s memory alive, within weeks it was flooded with images and memories of her husband, antimafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. Her absence calls attention to the ways in which subjects left unprotected by the state and marginalized by society and culture can be cast into the oblivion of history, thus depriving future generations of the value of their memories and legacies. This is far too often the case when remembering female antimafia activists.

My approach to narrative research places a high value on the collaborative process of building narratives with the community members I write about. This process raises serious questions about who has the right to speak, the right to tell the story and the ethics of representation. The book’s title, “The Story-Takers,” takes its cue from the joint project of story-making between the one who listens and the one who tells a story that is vulnerable to being forgotten. Given the prevalence of omerta — the law of silence — where communities live under mafia rule, stories of resistance are far too easily lost.

UNH: Did you make any particularly unexpected discoveries in the process?

Salvio: Yes, I made several unexpected discoveries, but here, I’ll limit them to three.

First, I did not expect that the work of antimafia activists would challenge the pedagogical impulse of transitional justice in such a profound way. Too often, transitional justice narratives focus on experiences of victimhood rather than including narratives of non-violent resistance. The history and contemporary practices of the antimafia movements in Italy recognize and learn from those who took action, who engaged in dissent and who resisted and continue to resist state sanctioned violence.

Second, while I began this project with an understanding of the strong masculine presence in mafia and antimafia studies, I did not set out to write a feminist perspective on antimafia literature, but in many ways, that’s what I did. As the study unfolded, I found myself more and more focused on the ways in which women’s perspectives were absent from mainstream antimafia studies. I also began to understand the extent to which antimafia movements, like the mafia, have a masculine face that silences the unspectacular, but meaningful, cultural practices of fighting for legality in daily living.

Third, citizen and open-source journalism play major roles in antimafia education, particularly in an era when global media is becoming increasingly privatized.

While significant questions remain about the extent to which social media can impact social change, the citizen journalists working in Italy present compelling challenges to claims made by skeptics of citizen journalism that new media practices, such as blogging, posting, tweeting, function to neglect organization and revolt. In my research, I found that citizen journalists provide well-researched, in-depth exposés posted online, and in doing so, they insert themselves into the current news production process as curators of collective memory formation.

Of course, the mafia is expert at using the internet as well. Mafia violence knows no limit as it circulates on the ground and through communication channels on the net. They do track people down. Recently, one antimafia group, Libera, found their site hacked. The mafia left a skull and a cascade of death threats. Yet Libera carries on. They recognize — and here I paraphrase Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates — that you have to find peace within the chaos; you have to find some sort of mission in the chaos; you have to devote yourself to the struggle within the chaos, with no assurance that you will see any victory within your lifetime.

post source: UNH Today story written by Jennifer Saunders


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