On February 16, 2012, CHASS Dean Jeff Braden and junior International Relations and Criminology major Laura Wilkinson traded places for CHASS' annual Dean for a Day event. Braden attended Wilkinson's classes and took over her work as editor of the Technician. Meanwhile, "Dean Wilkinson" attended Braden's meetings and even taught his PSY 200 class. Here are the pair's reflections on their experiences. And don't miss the pictures Communication Intern Lauren Williams took for our FaceBook page.
"Student" Braden's Reflections
5:45 pm Wednesday - Dean Laura Wilkinson and I are invited to the Call Center at the Park Alumni Center to address the students who make calls to alumni to raise money. One of them asks about the importance of study abroad, and Dean Wilkinson shares her personal experience in Spain. She notes that study abroad not only helps students learn about other cultures and languages, but it also helps them learn about themselves and how they can better communicate with others. I say study abroad is only important for those who plan to live on this planet; otherwise, it's really not needed.
6:20 pm - Dean Wilkinson and I compare our schedules for the next day over dinner at The State Club. We are so engaged that we miss the beginning of the talk given by Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, but do manage to catch about half of it. After dropping Laura off, I go to the Technician offices and begin getting the weather, police blotter, and calendar events ready for page 2 of Thursday's edition. After editing a couple of pages, my grammatical sadism is in full swing, which was more than I can say for my energy level. As the midnight deadline approaches, I feel myself flagging. Still, we push to get things done in time. Despite the fact that the lead story is pulled at 10 pm and we have to scramble to replace it, I am assured that it is a relatively uneventful night.
11:45 pm - I call to tell the N & O that the Technician is all in. Managing Editor Taylor declares, "It's closing time" (a song we've heard repeatedly throughout the evening as we worked to finish the paper). The staff quickly disappears; Taylor sends me home telling me he'll clean up.
12:15 am Thursday - I arrive home and am in bed shortly thereafter. I rarely stay up this late.
3:14 am - I wake up thinking about work.
7:02 am - I wake up and marvel at the time; I haven't slept this late in months. I enjoy a few extra minutes of rest, reminding myself that I don't need to get out of bed for almost an hour. However, I can't just lie there, so I get up two minutes later, exercise, and leisurely read the paper for the first time in a long time.
9:05 am - I have the red and green plaid sport coat, matching bow tie, and green straight leg pants that John McIlwee, the director of the University theater, has loaned to me so that I can nail the 1960s student look. I'll be the bee's knees, the cat's meow, a real Beau Brummell ... yikes, that's exactly what I'll be! It takes me an extra 15 minutes to get dressed because I have to remember how to tie a bow tie.
9:50 am - The traffic into work is a breeze ... much easier than the 7:30 am run I normally make. That is, until I get just past Avent Ferry, heading west on Western! The traffic backs up a few hundred yards in the left lane as apparently every student on campus has decided to come in and turn left on Pullen at the same time. My big cushion of time gets thinner, but I still manage to find parking and get to class a few minutes before it begins.
10:15 am - Dr. Boettscher's PS 437 class on US National Security is fascinating. I am reminded why I fell in love with college; an energetic professor, lively discussion, and fascinating subject matter mix together to make a heady elixir. Beats the heck out of a budget meeting! I find myself raising my hand more often than I might have thought but that's not because I was better prepared with respect to homework. Rather, it was because we were discussing the US cold war strategy against the USSR. To me, those events were not history-they were my childhood! Sigh...I'm older than dirt and know it. Still, I walk out of class excited to tell my wife about the potential for cutting Iran from using the SWIFT banking network (which would effectively eliminate their ability to trade in dollars-a big deal given that's the currency for oil exchange). [Note: Sure enough, I'm watching the News Hour the next evening and they have a panel to discuss this very topic. How cool is that?]
11:50 am - I visit Library Director Susan Nutter wearing my cool duds. She laughs, rolls her eyes, and shakes her head, muttering something about crazy deans. I then rush to meet Laura's friend Brian for lunch at the Atrium. I'm disconcerted by how many students walk by me, look up from their smart phones, see my hideous plaid jacket, green pants, and bow tie, and look back down at their phones without even cracking a smile. Do deans really dress so badly that students can't tell when we're trying to look goofy?
12:05 pm - Brian fills me in on the next class we'll be going to, his background, and the fact he's heading up to Virginia for a dance workshop over the weekend. The diversity of interests and students in our Wolfpack community is incredible. We head to the East Wing of D.H. Hill to catch up on emails (I suppose Brian is catching up on texts). I try to write this blog and respond to a few urgent emails. After all, Laura and I swapped schedules but not email accounts; some stuff just can't wait. I run into a candidate for a professor position in the English department who is visiting campus today. He looks at me and what I'm wearing, and although he quickly stifles the look of horror, the damage is done. He nods good-naturedly when I assure him I'm only dressing like this because I'm a student for the day. I can tell as I walk away he's mulling over whether his potential employer is mad.
1:20 pm - Brian and I find our seats in Dr. Murray's IS 491 Senior Seminar in International Studies class. Dr. Murray has such a low-key, friendly delivery that it takes me a few minutes to realize that he expects-and clearly demands-a lot from his class. We soon break up into writing groups, and it's clear he's carefully organized the class so that (a) people do the work, (b) they have to share their work with others, and (c) they critique each other's work. I learn that Laura's classmates are working on papers related to female suicide bombers, the ethics of pharmacological experimentation (using the Nuremburg Code as a foundation for inquiry), and the economic (dis)incentives of acquiring a nuclear by non-nuclear states and groups. It's fascinating stuff, and I'm genuinely disappointed as class ends that we can't keep going.
3:45 pm - I detour past Thompson Hall on my way to Witherspoon to show John McIlwee his success in picking out my duds. Sadly, he's not there, but two others eagerly take my picture, giggling all the while. Geez, it's tough to be so brave when it comes to fashion.
4:05 pm - I arrive at the Technician offices in Witherspoon ready to apologize for being late for the budget meeting, but I am among the first to arrive. As others come in shaking off the effects of the steady, cold rain, we gather in the conference room for the budget meeting. It's a good thing I was warned that their budget meeting has nothing to do with budgets; rather, it's deciding who's going to do what for the next day's issue. We must all agree on the editorial (so it reflects the consensus of the editors), and we start the discussion with one of the writers suggesting that it's too easy to change/add majors. Others seem to share that opinion, which I find surprising, as I've spent a lot of time talking with other deans, the provost, and university leaders on how we can make it easier for students to do so. I point out that it's easy for students who have GPAs above 3.0, but it's a lot harder for an average student with a GPA in the 2.0-2.4 range to change majors. They consider my remarks, and the next day's editorial reflects well our discussion.
Last Thoughts - As I finish up the Police Blotter for page 2 of the Technician and end my day as Laura Wilkinson's replacement, I find myself amazed at the pace and the energy of our students and our faculty. This is one great place, and once again, I pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Sure enough, I'm not-although I'll definitely sleep well tonight!
"Dean" Laura Wilkinson's Reflections
5:45 pm - Call Center Visit: It was great to see the fundraising side of the university. I knew people worked on fundraising, but I didn't understand the actual operations side of it. I was able to answer a few questions about how CHASS has impacted me personally and why I would be proud to give back to my college. Hopefully I helped inspire some of the call center staff!
6:00 pm - Dinner at the State Club with Student Braden -- I was blown away by the State Club - it's very elegant, the staff is very nice and the food is delicious! I am currently thinking about joining just so I can eat that well again. Over dinner Braden and I talked about some of the challenges facing the college, specifically how the salary freeze has affected the retention rate of key faculty members. I was able to make some parallels between the types of duties Braden has as a college dean and the duties I have as editor-in-chief of Technician. We try to do the best for our organizations but also have to deal with a lot of stress and problems.
8:00 pm - Creative Writing Speaking Series -- Braden and I caught the end of guest author Karen Joy Fowler's reading. The event organizer and I chatted afterward and he had nothing but praise for the dean. He said Dean Braden consistently shows up to college-led events, which I think says a lot about how important the faculty and students are to the dean.
8:30 pm - Done for the night! I got to go home at a decent hour for once this semester! However, I still stayed up until 4:30 am to finish up the homework the dean would need to turn in to my professors the next day.
8:30 am Thursday - BORST Meeting - After going to the wrong building twice, I finally made it to the BORST (that's the university's Business Operations Realignment Steering Team) meeting on Avent Ferry Road. It was a very early start to the day for me, since I usually don't get up until 9:15 am on Thursdays. At the meeting the board discussed the design of their new website and the benefits and drawbacks of a survey about small/large purchases. It was interesting to see people from each college debate back and forth, since I'm only familiar with CHASS.
10:00 am - Meeting with Dr. Karen Young, Assistant Dean & Director of Undergraduate Programs. Dr. Young has so much to do and not enough time to do it all in. She is a true advocate for CHASS students and I wish she had more time in the day to get everything done.
10:45 am - Meeting with Dr. Maxine Atkinson, Head of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology. Dr. Atkinson is a crusader. She's very honest and straight-forward and I appreciated her openness. We talked about budget concerns and how she deals with faculty, as well as her accomplishments. I hope I can achieve as much as she has in the future.
11:45 am - Lunch at the State Club with Marcy Engler, Executive Director of Development and Emily Barbour, CHASS Advisory Board President. I was very excited to head back to the State Club again because I was ready for more delicious food. Marcy, Emily and I talked about fundraising for the college, the importance of giving back to the university to help future students succeed, and a little bit about what I wanted to do in the future. I was able to offer a few suggestions for how to get more students involved in alumni donations. They need more people to help with fundraising.
1:00 pm - University Advancement Committee Meeting. I had to hustle from the Alumni Center to Holladay Hall to make it on time to this meeting, but they ended up starting a little late so I didn't feel bad. I was a little disappointed at the lack of diversity in the committee '€" the room was full of white males, with a couple of white females sprinkled in. The members gave an update on meeting the goal for the Chancellor's Residence, progress made on the Lonnie Poole Golf Course and club house, progress on the Hunt Library campaign, Gregg campaign, Vet Center campaign, and an update on alumni giving. Alumni giving is up 30.12 percent from last year and the goal is to raise $1.5 million by June.
2:15 pm - Meeting with Dr. Tom Birkland, Associate Dean for CHASS Research, Extension, Engagement and Economic Development. Dr. Birkland was one of my favorite people to visit on Thursday. Although we spent some time talking about what his job entailed and about my work at Technician,we also discussed various research projects faculty and graduate students were pursuing. One project in particular is an attempt at a recreation of St. Paul's Cathedral, where English poet John Donne spoke in the 17th century. After Dean for a Day ended, I took a tour of the Hunt Library in which that same project was also mentioned. I'm very excited about the research the college does and Dr. Birkland is a huge part of making those projects happen.
3:00 pm - Teach Psychology 200 class. I was armed with a Powerpoint presentation and courage when I stepped into that classroom. The TA was very helpful when I had no idea what the subject material was saying, but I still felt very bad for all the students in the room. I did the best I could in teaching operant conditioning, but I'm pretty sure I left them more confused than more educated. It seems I'm not meant to be a professor.
4:30 pm - Meeting with Dr. Helga Braunbeck, Assistant Dean, Interdisciplinary Studies. Dr. Braunbeck and I first met my freshman year during orientation because she was my first adviser at N.C. State, and I was so happy when she said she remembered me from three years ago! After catching up a little bit, she talked to me about the history of Interdisciplinary Studies, which I had always found confusing in the past. Soon, though, it was 5:00 pm and time for debriefing with the dean. My day was over and I was sad to see it go (except for the dressing like a businesswoman '€" I'll take jeans over a pencil skirt every day of the week).
Becca Bishopric (Interdisciplinary Studies ‘11) and senior Anuja Acharya (Political Science) were fellows during the past year with WomenNC.org. They each spent time researching a topic dealing with rural women in North Carolina and wrote a paper on those findings. This week, they're in New York presenting their research on women's issues to the United Nations. The pair will represent WomenNC.org, a nonprofit organization that formed out of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. They will spend a few days attending U.N. workshops and seminars covering issues affecting rural women around the world. On Thursday, they will present their findings.
In the past, there have not been a whole lot of youth going to this conference, says Bishopric, who worked as a student at NC State to combat violence against women. Part of what WomenNC is trying to do is to show that there can be young faces at these conferences. There are people who've been there who don't necessarily have the same perspective as young people do in our world today.
Bishopric, who has an interest in global public health, focused her research on human sex trafficking in North Carolina. She says research shows there are more slaves in the world today than ever recorded in human history and that the problem extends to North Carolina, where there are large proportions of homeless youth in rural counties.
It's an issue, she says, that has gone ignored. Nobody knows about it and nobody wants to talk about it, she says. But it really hit home to me that this is a huge problem.
Acharya, who first gained an interest in politics in high school when she read George Orwell's 1984, researched political involvement of North Carolina rural women. She interviewed several women who had served, who are serving or who had run for state office.
One common response was that those women said they didn't necessarily have political role models. And it had never occurred to some to even run for public office until a specific issue, like education, personally affected them. The had issues they held some connection to, Acharya says. They had a strong sense of purpose.
Both women are blogging about their experience this week for WomenNC.org. The organization selects four to five fellows each year who research issues the U.N. finds itself dealing with. Past issues have dealt with gender equality in Beijing, China, and women's access to education, science and technology around the globe.
By Chris Saunders. Reposted from NC State's Red and White for Life blog.
Freshmen Alfred Anderson and Kelly Darden met last summer as classmates in the university's Summer START program that helps incoming students make the transition from high school to college. Anderson and Darden are making that transition with flying colors. The two freshmen are just back from presenting a research paper -- Hip-Hop: A Societal Misunderstanding -- at the Southeastern Undergraduate Sociology Symposium at Emory University.
It is very unusual for first year students to present papers at a research symposium, says Emily Estrada, their instructor for Principles of Sociology last summer. But they were both strong students and they had worked hard to put their paper together. I wanted to give them an opportunity to take it to the next level.
Estrada encouraged the students to pull together an abstract and apply to present at the symposium. They were excited about the prospect, and they practiced and prepared, she says. I had every confidence they would represent NC State well. I am beyond proud of them.
Darden and Anderson's presentation grew out of a paper they wrote in their English 101 class last summer, and a presentation they gave for both their English and sociology classes. That topic'€"about the misconceptions the general public has toward hip-hop and rap lyrics'€"is better understood when seen in a sociological context, Darden says. What most people fail to realize is that mainstream hip-hop does not represent the entirety of the culture. The stereotypes that are portrayed put African Americans in a negative light. In fact, hip-hop consists of a variety of topics that embody struggles of past generations.
Darden says the experience of attending the symposium left Anderson and him both exhausted and energized. There were students there representing states from Connecticut to California, he says. We were the only freshmen there, as far as I could tell. We got good feedback, and were encouraged to submit our work for conferences at Princeton and Harvard, among others. Our topic is not widely covered.
I'm glad our professor suggested we participate. It gave us an opportunity to expose others to our work. It was definitely worth the effort.
Everyone has moments when they feel more in control of their lives than at other times. New research from NC State University shows that this sense of control fluctuates more often, and more quickly, than previously thought - and that this sense of control may actively affect cognitive abilities.
This is the first time we've been able to see how the day-to-day changes in our sense of being in control may actually influence the way we think, says Dr. Shevaun Neupert, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and lead author of a paper on the research.
In a study focusing on older adults, Neupert and her co-author, NC State associate professor of psychology Jason Allaire, tested each participant's sense of control every 12 hours for 60 days. In the study, participants were asked questions about whether they felt in control of their lives and whether they felt able to achieve goals they set for themselves. Cognitive functioning, such as memory and inductive reasoning, was also measured. Participants ranged in age from 61 to 87, with an average age of 74.
The study found that participants' sense of control could fluctuate significantly in the course of a single day. That is particularly interesting, given that previous research has largely focused on the presumption that one's sense of control remains relatively stable.
Researchers also found that participants who normally reported having a low sense of control performed much better on inductive reasoning tests during periods when they reported feeling a higher sense of control. Inductive reasoning is a type of problem solving. For example, being shown a series of letters and being able to determine which letter should come next in the sequence.
Further, the researchers found that people who normally reported feeling a high sense of control scored higher on memory tests when feeling more in control than usual.
Based on modeling, researchers say it appears that the improved cognitive functioning stems from the feeling of improved control, not vice versa. This wasn't part of the experimental design, so we can't say for sure, Neupert says. But it is a first step toward determining which comes first - sense of control or improved cognition.
The paper, I Think I Can, I Think I Can: Examining the Within-Person Coupling of Control Beliefs and Cognition in Older Adults, is published online by the journal Psychology and Aging.
African-American women make up a disproportionate number of HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. Researchers from NC State University--including faculty from the Department of Communication--are trying to change that, leading a National Science Foundation project aimed at developing HIV/AIDS prevention materials that resonate with African-American female college students.
African-Americans represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44 percent of new HIV infections in 2009. The estimated rate of new HIV infections among African-American women was 15 times that of white women and over three times that of Latina women.
We want to know how we can improve the language and communication strategies used in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts targeting African-American female college students, says Dr. Fay Cobb Payton, an associate professor of information systems at NC State and primary investigator (PI) of the project.
Our goal is to help craft messages that will be resonant with these young women, says Dr. James Kiwanuka-Tondo, an associate professor of communication at NC State and fellow co-PI of the effort.
The National Science Foundation awarded a two-year grant supporting the project, which is being conducted at NC State and Pennsylvania State University.
Our previous research found a lack of 'cultural competency' in online prevention materials, Kiwanuka-Tondo says. Meaning the materials were not culturally relevant to the African-American population in general, and women in particular.
The researchers have already begun conducting focus groups in an effort to define guidelines for prevention content and messaging that is culturally relevant to African-American female students.
These guidelines will help us develop online content targeting this specific audience, Payton says. The researchers plan to test the newly developed content and messaging with the focus groups at the beginning of the fall semester.
This is an iterative process, Payton says, and we will incorporate feedback from the focus groups to fine tune these communication tools.
Meanwhile, co-PI Dr. Lynette Kvasny of Penn State will be leading a similar effort on her campus - which should help the research team identify any regional differences among African-American female students.
The NC State research team also includes Kathy Gore of NC State's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, as well as graduate and undergraduate students - several of whom are volunteering their time and effort to work on this important issue.
By Matt Shipman, NC State News Services
For some older adults, the online video game World of Warcraft (WoW) may provide more than just an opportunity for escapist adventure. Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that playing WoW actually boosted cognitive functioning for older adults - particularly those adults who had scored poorly on cognitive ability tests before playing the game.
We chose World of Warcraft because it has attributes we felt may produce benefits - it is a cognitively challenging game in a socially interactive environment that presents users with novel situations, says Dr. Anne McLaughlin, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the study. We found there were improvements, but it depended on each participant's baseline cognitive functioning level.
Researchers from NC State's Gains Through Gaming laboratory first tested the cognitive functioning of study participants, aged 60 to 77, to set a baseline. The researchers looked at cognitive abilities including spatial ability, memory and how well participants could focus their attention.
An experimental group of study participants then played WoW on their home computers for approximately 14 hours over the course of two weeks, before being re-tested. A control group of study participants did not play WoW, but were also re-tested after two weeks.
Comparing the cognitive functioning test scores of participants in the experimental and control groups, the researchers found the group that played WoW saw a much greater increase in cognitive functioning, though the effect varied according to each participant's baseline score.
Among participants who scored well on baseline cognitive functioning tests, there was no significant improvement after playing WoW - they were already doing great, McLaughlin says. But we saw significant improvement in both spatial ability and focus for participants who scored low on the initial baseline tests. Pre- and post-game testing showed no change for participants on memory.
The people who needed it most - those who performed the worst on the initial testing - saw the most improvement, says Dr. Jason Allaire, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the study.
The paper, Individual differences in response to cognitive training: Using a multi-modal, attentionally demanding game-based intervention for older adults, is published online in Computers in Human Behavior. Lead author of the paper is Laura Whitlock, an NC State Ph.D. student. The research was supported by NC State's College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
- shipman -
Note to editors: The study abstract follows.
Individual differences in response to cognitive training: Using a multi-modal, attentionally demanding game-based intervention for older adults
Authors: Laura A. Whitlock, Anne Collins McLaughlin, Jason C. Allaire, North Carolina State University
Published: Online, Computers in Human Behavior
Abstract: The effectiveness of a game-based cognitive training intervention on multiple abilities was assessed in a sample of 39 older adults aged 60-77. The intervention task was chosen based on a cognitive task analysis designed to determine the attentional and multi-modal demands of the game. Improvements on a measure of attention were found for the intervention group compared to controls. Furthermore, for the intervention group only, initial ability scores predicted improvements on both tests of attention and spatial orientation. These results suggest cognitive training may be more effective for those initially lower in ability.
History is the essence of innumerable biographies, wrote historian Thomas Carlyle. An NC State historian is taking this notion to heart as he spearheads a multifaceted project to piece together the rich history of Lebanese-Americans who call North Carolina home.
NC State Professor of History Akram Khater, Director of Middle East Studies, is directing the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies to research, document, preserve, and publicize the history of the Lebanese-American community in North Carolina from the 1890s through the present.
Cedars in the Pines, a documentary film produced with the help of the English Department's Language and Life Program, represents the first phase of the project. The one-hour film will premiere March 28, 2012, at 7:00 pm at the NC Museum of History in downtown Raleigh.
This film is about an integral part of North Carolina history that has been hitherto unknown to many North Carolinians, says Khater. We collected letters, photos, and books, and conducted numerous interviews with first, second and third generation North Carolinians of Lebanese descent.
The stories they tell are not just about a particular ethnic community - the Lebanese in this case - but they also narrate North Carolina as a multicultural space, culturally and economically enriched by immigrants.
Khater hopes that this film will remind viewers that Arab immigrants are not a new phenomenon but rather they have been here all along.
It is our hope that after seeing this film, the public will come to realize that Arabs have been a part of this state long before 9/11 and they have a positive role in its life, says Khater. In other words, they are not the menacing 'other' as they have been repeatedly portrayed in the media.
Cedars in the Pines represents the first in a series of cultural projects undertaken by the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies. We are planning a museum exhibit that will tour North Carolina and an online archive that will house our growing digital collection of stories, photos, film, and objects, explains Khater. A resource book for K-12 history teachers is also in the works.
The premiere of Cedars in the Pines is free and open to the public. Registration is required at lac.chass.ncsu.edu, or by calling NC State's Department of History: 919-515-2483.
By Lauren Williams, CHASS communication intern
Nora Shepard, a poet and alumna of the college's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program, was recently honored at the NC State Alumni Association's eighth annual Evening of Stars gala as the 2011 CHASS Distinguished Alumna.
Nora has given a good bit of her generous life to the arts, both as a remarkable poet and painter, but also as a promoter of the arts in our lives in the Triangle, says John Balaban, director of NC State's creative writing program and the university's poet-in-residence.
Watch for your spring 2012 CHASS Alumni Magazine in late April, where you can read more about Shepard and her contributions to the arts in general and to the college's creative writing program in particular.
Jason Bivins grew up during the punk movement of the 1980s, rejecting the mainstream and staring in confusion at Reagan's America. He went off to college and decided he wanted to become a professional musician. When that chapter closed, he returned to academia and started looking at how religion affects the way we think and talk about politics. Bivins is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at North Carolina State University. Hear an interview with him about his life, work. and scholarship on WUNC's The State of Things.
Meghan O'Sullivan, the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School, will present the John W. Pope Lecture at North Carolina State University on Tuesday, March 13. Her talk is titled Making Sense of the New Middle East: The Dynamics and Their Implications for US Interests.
The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. in 232-A Withers Hall, on the NC State University main campus. The event is free and open to the public.
O'Sullivan's expertise includes the geopolitics of energy, decision making in foreign policy, nation-building, counterinsurgency, and the Middle East. Between 2004 and 2007, she was special assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan during the last two years of this tenure. She spent two years in Iraq, most recently in the fall of 2008 to help conclude the security agreement and strategic framework agreement between the United States and Iraq.
Prior to this, O'Sullivan was senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia in the NSC; political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator and deputy director for governance in Baghdad; chief advisor to the presidential envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process; and a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Her publications include Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism (2003). Dr. O'Sullivan is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a consultant to the National Intelligence Council, and a strategic advisor to John Hess, the Chairman and CEO of Hess Corporation, an American independent oil and gas company. She is also a foreign affairs columnist for Bloomberg View, a director on the board of TechnoServe, a nonprofit organization bringing business solutions to help alleviate poverty, as well as a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Aspen Strategy Group. She is also an advisor to Mitt Romney, a 2012 candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. president.
O'Sullivan has been awarded the Defense Department's highest honor for civilians, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, and three times been awarded the State Department's Superior Honor Award. In 2008, Esquire Magazine named her one of the most influential people of the century.
She holds a doctorate in Politics and a master's in Economics from Oxford University and a B.A. from Georgetown University.
The John W. Pope Lecture Series is hosted by North Carolina State University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Poole College of Management to encourage dialogue on topics of political and economic interest. This lecture series is supported by a grant from the John W. Pope Foundation.
The lecture series is part of a program funded by a grant from the John W. Pope Foundation to support education and research in public policy and economics in the two colleges at NC State.
Quality interaction with undergraduate students is a key component of the Pope Lecture Series, says Dr. Andy Taylor, professor of Political Science at NC State. Dr. O'Sullivan will offer a public lecture, but will also meet with our students.
Driving and parking directions: Withers Hall is located at 101 Lampe Drive on NC State's north campus, between Ricks and Daniels Halls. Parking is available in the North Hall Parking Lot on Hillsborough Street, along Hillsborough Street, or in the Cates Avenue Parking Deck beside Reynolds Coliseum.
Joan Pennell serves as lead guest editor for a special issue of the country’s leading journal on child welfare. Child Welfare published the special issue, “Taking Child and Family Rights Seriously” (2011, Issue #4) to highlight family engagement in child welfare, and Pennell is an expert in the topic. “Involving families in decision making is the primary area of my work,” says Pennell, an NC State professor of social work and director of the Center for Family and Community Engagement.
Pennell says the special issue “examines how taking child and family rights seriously reshapes child welfare practice, policy, and research. In what ways does this stance influence theorizing child welfare, redesigning services, and constructing evidence? In what ways does collective decision-making that engages the family group advance both child and family rights? And when family groups are engaged in making and carrying out plans, what happens to children, their families, and the involved agencies?”
She says the studies included in the journal issue “point to the benefits of family engagement in child welfare and also to its dangers when implemented without adequate supports and resources. … The research highlights the need to increase our efforts to amplify the voices of children and to work out ways of placing children's rights more fully on the research, policy, and practice agendas.”
Pennell says that public child welfare in the United States and internationally “is increasingly turning to family engagement as a mechanism for advancing children's safety, permanency, and well-being. Pragmatically, family engagement is a way to involve or reinvolve the family and their social support networks in caring for children and youth in partnership with professionals. Ethically, family engagement is a way to uphold both child and family rights.”
To view the journal, visit NC State’s libraries online, type “Child Welfare” in the “find” area, and select the year 2011, issue #4.
NC State and other large state universities scored highest with job recruiters looking to hire the best trained and well prepared graduates to fill vacancies in the job market, according to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal.
When the survey findings were announced in 2010, NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said the story was “a testimony to the real-world learning that takes place at great universities like NC State. Our students learn practical skills while maintaining a well-rounded approach to serving their state, their country, and the world, placing them among the nation's most prepared university graduates.
NC State ranked 19th overall by recruiters for some of the largest public and private corporations, nonprofits and federal agencies in the nation. Schools had to have a minimum of 60 companies who recruited at the institution to be considered for inclusion - in the final rankings, NC State finished ahead of UNC, Duke, Notre Dame and MIT, among others.
NC State is consistently ranked as one of the nation's best values in higher education, but this ranking is different, said Dr. Louis Hunt, vice provost and university registrar at NC State. This ranking encompasses the entire educational process - it acknowledges the quality of our faculty and students as well as the excellence and appropriateness of our curriculum.
The university's reputation in the workplace came as no surprise to CHASS alumna Morgan Donnelly (Political Science and Media Communication '10), who works as a digital journalist/reporter with NBC affiliate WSLS 10 in Roanoke, Virginia. After being told by a number of future broadcast colleagues that it could take up to a year to land a solid position, Donnelly was offered two jobs on the same day less than a month after she graduated - a credit not only to her efforts, but also those of NC State faculty and staff in helping Donnelly prepare to succeed beyond the borders of campus.
NC State professors have so much experience in their fields and they offer a wealth of interesting classes that are simply not offered elsewhere, she said. They get to know us as students, push us to succeed and show confidence in our abilities - all of which help us learn as much as we can. That, in itself, makes us more desirable for jobs.
Donnelly's study abroad and research experiences, as well as the job-preparedness skills she gained at NC State, gave prospective employers additional insight into her potential as a new hire. Thanks to a pair of unique internship classes (designed in part to offer students regular critique and evaluations), Donnelly hit the interview circuit with an increased confidence and a solid portfolio to show her future bosses.
When I applied I had a website, a portfolio, a DVD and a cover-letter template - all of which were made for a class, she said. Thanks to a lot of hard work and the tools NC State helped provide, I was ready. I think it really helped me stand out.
Internships are more important than ever, according to The Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Merritt. Internships are the new full-time hiring, Merritt said in a video interview on WSJ.com's News Hub. More and more companies are making internships extremely meaningful, and they're judging their interns and offering them jobs before they go back to school. You've got to know about this before you select a college.
NC State professors and advisors, Donnelly said, gladly play an essential role in helping their students land quality, high-profile internships that will pay off in the semesters or years to come. I did three internships, and all of them helped point me in the right direction, she said. During my last semester at NC State, my advisor, Sandra Stallings, insisted I do an internship at WTVD - despite the fact I was taking 18 hours and trying to enjoy my last semester here.
That internship really helped me, and I'm so thankful she pushed me.
It was an opportunity and an advantage that Donnelly didn't take for granted - and one she can't say is afforded to undergrads at other local colleges and universities. I worked with some students from other schools, and many of them didn't want to try to find jobs, she said. They didn't know how to apply or how to stand out.
I don't think other universities prepare their students for jobs as well as NC State does, Donnelly said. They teach them lessons, but they don't teach them useable skills like resume building or website construction to use when they are out on their own.
Giving students not only the tools they need to succeed, but to teach them how use them - it's a mindset ingrained in both the advising and educational methods used across NC State's campus, administrators say.
Our students graduate with the skills necessary to excel in today's competitive environment, Hunt said. It is especially gratifying to have the employers that hire our graduates recognize the university and its faculty in this way.
note: An earlier version of this article, written by Dave Pond, appeared at ncsu.edu.
The cover story of the current issue of NC State magazine* details how faculty from across campus–including Professor of Anthropology Ann Ross–are working with law enforcement to transform the way we solve crimes:
The bones from a dismembered body found in Texas are awaiting inspection in a lab near the 1911 Building. On Centennial Campus, a computer screen blips as it records information from extracted dye as researchers build a database to help crime scene investigators compare automobile fibers. In the basement of Brooks Hall, video game technology is put to a different use as a 3-D version of a crime scene appears on a screen. And just off Western Boulevard, an entomologist awaits a call from a prosecutor to testify in the case of a suspected serial killer.
If it sounds like CSI: NC State, there's good reason for that. All across campus, researchers from different disciplines have teamed up to develop a forensics institute that is providing crucial help to law enforcement investigators. The institute will also establish a framework for students to delve into forensics, the application of scientific knowledge to physical evidence. The effort involves nearly every college on campus, from textiles to humanities to design to engineering, and researchers have garnered nearly $3 million in grants along the way.
The university right now is poised to become a national, even global, leader in this area, says Billy Oliver, an archeologist and teaching associate who helped set up the NC State Forensic Sciences Institute, which brings together researchers around campus, establishes courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and provides training and help to law enforcement officers. Read the full story on the NC State news site.
Scientific American highlighted the lab when NC State hosted the national ScienceOnline2012 conference recently–a gathering of science writers from around the country. Ann Ross treated attendees to a tour of the forensic anthropology labs. NC State’s news services staff member Matt Shipman gave an insider’s view of the tour in The Abstract, the university’s blog devoted to research.
*NC State magazine is a benefit of membership in the N.C. State Alumni Association.
As part of NC State’s History Weekend on February 17 – 18, 2012, the History Department is sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Robert Darnton, director of the Harvard University Library, on the history of blogging. Darnton, whose early research focused on ephemera, will share how the bits and pieces of written material from years past were our ancestors' ways of blogging. Darnton will take audience members back to 18th century blogging in France and lead them through blogging history up to our present time.
Dr. Jonathan Ocko, head of the History Department, explains that Darnton's work shows that anything someone wrote down can hold historical information. All the bits and pieces contain opinion and commentary.
You may think that historians wouldn't be interested in something as seemingly modern as blogging, but that's not true. We [historians] are connoisseurs of change, says Ocko. We're interested in anything that involves change and we study the causation of that change.
Ocko also points out that historians frequently use blogs in their own work. Blogs are often used by historians to study public history, he says, adding that he finds blogs useful in his own work regarding Chinese history. When looking at blogs and their historical counterparts, it's interesting to find the democratization of expression.
And blogs are not only important to current work. When future historians study our time, they will be looking at blogs, says Ocko.
Ocko is excited to bring historians such as Darnton to NC State's campus, emphasizing that all are welcome to attend Darnton's lecture and other History Weekend events. This event is not just for scholars, he says. The aim of History Weekend is to bring distinguished historians to share their work in a way that is interesting and accessible to the general reading public. We pick themes that appeal to broad audiences and give a sense of why history is important.
By Lauren Williams, CHASS communication intern
Think you're a promising poet? Enter the 2012 Statewide Poetry Contest, sponsored by NC State's Creative Writing Program through the Barnhardt Family Fund.
This annual poetry contest, open to all NC residents (some exceptions apply), is one of the largest free literary competitions in the South. Unlike many other competitions, this one requires no submission fee.
The grand prize winner will receive $500. Honorable mentions and finalists will also be chosen. Additionally, special prizes will be rewarded to undergraduate and graduate student winners.
Barbara Ras, poet and editorial director of Trinity University Press, will serve as this year's guest judge. Ras' first collection of poetry, Bite Every Sorrow, won the 1997 Walt Whitman Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her other works include One Hidden Stuff (2006) and The Last Skin (2010). She will announce the contest winners during her reading on April 11, 2012, at 7:30 pm in Caldwell Lounge.
With 400 entrants last year, the competition promises to be tough. So head to your desk and let the poetic inspiration flow. Don't wait! The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2012.
For more info, including competition guidelines and rules, please visit the Creative Writing Program site.
By Lauren Williams, Communication intern.