Recently in Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work Category
Written by Michael Rouleau
Willimantic, Conn: -- On April 29, Beacon Press will publish "Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis," a new book by CSU Professor of Sociology James Russell. The book has been named by "Publishers Weekly" as a top 10 book in Business and Economics for Spring 2014.
The book is already receiving critical acclaim. "James Russell is a formidable crusader with a gift for rendering an obtuse topic accessible," said Nomi Prins, author of "All the Presidents' Bankers" and "It Takes a Pillage." In "Social Insecurity," he has penned a book that will enrage citizens of all ages and political persuasions, illuminate them about the organized robbery of their economic futures by the financial services industry, and inspire them to action. More than a description of a retirement system coopted by predatory bankers and fund managers, Social Insecurity is also a passionate account of the complicity of the global political elite and their ideological zealots, complete with a Hollywood moment of Russell's victory in achieving reform measures that can benefit everybody.
Charles R. Morris, author of "The Trillion Dollar Meltdown" and "The Tycoons," writes, "Forget the TV ads of gray-haired retired couples on bicycle trips. If you're an average American, you won't have enough to retire on. The shift from old-fashioned pensions to 401(k)s has enriched Wall Street and jeopardized your future. Essential reading for anyone who works for a living--from millennials to boomers--James Russell's Social Insecurity explains what you lost and who benefited from it."
Helaine Olen, author of "Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry," agrees, calling the book "an absolutely necessary read! James Russell has written the book explaining how we all got sold on the ridiculous notion of do-it-yourself retirement savings, and why it was never, ever going to work for anyone but the financial services sector. A devastating indictment that nevertheless concludes with ideas for reversing a dangerous trend we can no longer afford to ignore."
The mass transition from pensions to 401(k)-type plans started in 1981 due to the implementation of regulations of the Revenue Act of 1978. The idea was that "defined contribution" programs like the 401(k) coincide with American capitalist values better than "defined benefit" programs like the pension.
However, Russell argues that the reality of the 401(k) is far different--and more detrimental--than the intention. "401(k)s do a better job of supporting Wall Street than they do retirement," said Russell. "The enormously powerful financial services industry benefits from the current growth of defined contribution plans [like the 401(k)] from which it draws commissions, interest payments and management fees."
"James Russell has penned a book that will enrage citizens of all ages and political persuasions, illuminate them about the organized robbery of their economic futures by the financial services industry, and inspire them to action," wrote Nomi Prins, author of "All the Presidents' Bankers" and "It Takes a Pillage."
In "Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis," Russell delves into the history of retirement in the United States, case studies of other 401(k)-type plans in other countries, myths and realities of "defined contribution" and "defined benefit plans", suggestions for reform and more. "I wanted to write a book not just for academics, but for the general public," said Russell when describing his intention for the book. "Awareness of the 'swindle' needs to be raised."
Russell is considered an international authority on retirement policy. He is the author of several books dealing with economic and social policy, as well articles featured in a number of publications. In addition to "Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis," Russell has authored numerous books over the past two decades. They include: "Escape from Texas: A Novel of Slavery and the Texas War of Independence" (Sloan Publishing, 2012); "Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006, 2009, 2015--3 editions); "Class and Race Formation in North America" (Prentice Hall, University of Toronto Press, 1994, 2008--2 editions) "Societies and Social Life" (Prentice Hall, Sloan Publishing, 1992, 1996, 2006, 2009--4 editions); "Clase y Sociedad en Estados Unidos," with Silvia Núñez García (Ed. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1997); "Modes of Production in World History" (Routledge, 1989) and "Marx-Engels Dictionary" (Greenwood Press, 1981)
Russell has taught in universities across the United States and as a Fulbright senior researcher professor in Mexico and the Czech Republic.
Written by Akaya McElveen
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University student Katharine Ferrone and Charles Wynn, assistant chair of the Physical Sciences Department each have received a Best Buddies of Connecticut (BBCT) award for the month of November.
Ferrone received the College Chapter President of the Month BBCT Award for November. Ferrone is a junior majoring in social work. She serves as the Eastern BBCT chapter president and has been a contributing member of the organization for a substantial amount of time, though she exhibited exceptional skills and commitment in November.
Ferrone has improved Best Buddies' weekly chapter meetings by adding an educational component. She finds guest speakers, articles and videos about the disability rights movement and social inclusion to present to the chapter. She also has committed herself to help organize the BBCT state event, "Beats for Buds." She is also actively involved in helping with the annual Windham Special Olympics Swim Meet held at Windham High School, where she and her Best Buddies participants arrive at the school once a week with "unrivaled enthusiasm" and "genuine commitment" to assist the athletes. "Their time both in and out of the pool," said Adrianne Levine, head coach for the Windham Special Olympics swim team and Eastern alumna. "She has helped our athletes to develop relationships, strengthen their conversation skills and boost their confidence." Ferrone have demonstrated superb dedication to the organization, and plans to continue her efforts next semester. Aside from organizing Beats for Buds, she and her fellow Best Buddies participants plan to host "Spread the Word to End the Word." The week-long event is an initiative to eliminate the derogatory use of the word "retard." They also plan to host a BBCT Dance-a-thon to help raise money for the state's programs.
Wynn received the Best Buddies Advisor of the Month Award for November. He is the assistant chair of the Physical Sciences Department and professor of chemistry. Wynn became the Best Buddies faculty advisor in September 2013. In a few short months, his contributions to the organization have helped improve the overall quality of the program. He attends weekly chapter meetings and assists Ferrone in finding and presenting educational material to present to the chapter members. He was also instrumental in recruiting more than 20 new buddies for the Eastern chapter in less than a month. "When Katharine asked me to become the club's faculty advisor, I readily agreed," said Wynn. "I've been really impressed by the enthusiasm of the club's members. They are an inspiration to all of us." In addition to his role as faculty advisor for the chapter, Wynn is also a member of many local organizations. For more than a decade, he has served as the chairman of the Special Olympics Invitational Swim Meet committee, which Eastern faculty members and students have supported through countless hours of volunteer work.
Levine states, "It is people like Dr. Wynn and Katharine who are making the world a better place not only for people with developmental disabilities but by caring for them also!"
Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown to almost 1,500 middle school, high school and college chapters worldwide. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders and make lifelong friendships.
Written by Christopher J. Herman
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will host "An Evening in Politics: Gender in Public Policies" from 7-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 in the Faculty Lounge on the third floor of Webb Hall. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Geography and Philosophy, the Latin American Studies Program and the Gender Studies Program. Free pizza will be provided.
Topics that will be discussed include public policies aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, such as Food Stamps in the United States and Cash Transfers in Latin America, and how they do not necessarily take into account a gender perspective in their design and implementation. Professor Nora Nagels of the Université de Montréal, Professor Nicole Krassas of Eastern and Eastern students will discuss these different perspectives. The event will be moderated by Professor Martin Mendoza-Botelho.
For more information on the event, contact Mendoza-Botelho at (860) 465-5257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Akaya McElveen
Willimantic, Conn. - Bernard Lafayette Jr., a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, spoke on "Reaching Beyond Your Grasp" on Oct. 9 in the Student Center Theatre at Eastern Connecticut State University. His presentation was part of Eastern's University Hour Series.
More than 200 Eastern students, faculty and staff heard Lafayette say he was "glad" and "shocked" that he is still alive today, in response to a question asked by a student. Lafayette's life has been threatened on many occasions, including a night when white men came to his house to kill him.
More than 200 Eastern students, faculty and staff heard Lafayette describe how resolute the Freedom Riders were while facing terrifying mobs.
Being the target of many death threats, Lafayette had expected his life to have ended already. In fact, he said he that he and his peers, realizing the dangerous journey they were about to begin, created a will before taking part in the Freedom Riders, who were African American and white college students. "No one can take your life if you've already given it," said Lafayette. He said the Freedom Rides of the 1960s provided the momentum for the Civil Rights Movement, and provided an in-depth, personal look at what life was like for the Freedom Riders.
Left to right, Stacey Close, Eastern's associate vice president for equity and diversity; Prudence Allen, former administrative assistant to the late Coretta Scott King; Lafayette, Sociology Professors Dennis Canterbury and James Russell pose for a photograph.
Lafayette played a riveting clip from a documentary on the Freedom Rides, which showed scenes of white mobs as they burned and bombed the Freedom Riders' buses and beat them with crow bars, baseball bats and any other weapon they could pick up. Law enforcement and city officials had made a deal; the mob of people was given 15 minutes to do whatever it wanted to the Freedom Riders and they would not get punished for it. Once the 15 minutes were up, Lafayette said the officers announced, "Alright, you've had your fun," and told the mob, "Not one soul will ever be arrested."
Lafayette shakes hands with Akaya McElveen'14, an English major from Waterbury.
There was a moment in the film when a black woman went to a police officer to explain that her husband was being attacked, only to be knocked to the ground by that same officer.
Lafayette said media exposure of the mob violence and city officials' sanction of it played a leading role raising public awareness. News of the mob and police brutality was heard around the world, with America's European allies making it clear to President Kennedy that they were embarrassed by the violence.
Lafayette, left, with former vice president for equity and diversity at Eastern,and administrative assistants Carmen Diaz and Kathy Escobar.
The speaker also said there is a misconception that the Freedom Rides were about integrating the buses: "The demonstrations were really about bus stations and the right to be treated equally in them." Lafayette also talked about the importance of community engagement, saying that all colleges and universities should be involved in the community. "You've got to bring young people together and organize them. If you don't use your rights, you will lose your rights." As an example, he said students could initiate a voter registration drive by hosting a public birthday party for eighteen-year-olds, where the cost of admission would be showing their voter registration cards.
Lafayette with Hope Fitz, professor of philosophy and a scholar on nonviolence.
Lafayette said that he is genuinely interested in what the next generation will contribute to the Civil Rights Movement. "Maybe the movement never really stopped; it's continuous." He said young people should never surrender to violence and injustice. "If you do, the psychological wounds will run deep and may never end." He encouraged the audience to keep the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream alive, quoting the late Civil Rights leader, "We must live together as sisters and brothers or die separately as fools."
Lafayette ended his presentation by entertaining the audience with a country song about the struggle of poor white Americans.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Ghanaian high school principals pose for a photograph on the steps of the J. Eugen Smith Library.
Twenty-six school high school principals from Ghana, West Africa, visited Connecticut Sept. 1-8. Mathematics Professor Bonsu Osei arranged their visit, which was designed to have the Ghanaian educators interact with their counterparts in Connecticut on issues such as ethics, educational leadership and service to their respective schools. Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury provided an orientation for the principals.
Education Professor David Stoloff presents a workshop on the use of technology in education.
"The visit also encouraged a broader discussion on global issues of education, and offered students' opportunities to study abroad," said Osei. "We hope that students from Ghana will be encouraged to undertake their undergraduate education in Connecticut, especially Eastern."
Shannon Fitzpatrick'14, a business administration major, conducts a campus tour for the prinicipals.
The principals met with Connecticut's African-American Affairs Commission, which showcased some of Connecticut's model educational programs with the principals. "Ghana is a nation that many African-Americans can trace their ancestral roots to, so it is fitting to share knowledge and expertise to improve educational outcomes for both countries," said Glenn Cassis, executive director of the commission. "It is an honor for the commission to serve as a host."
Two principals present Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rhona Free a gift.
Eastern Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury provided the principals an orientation at the Ramada Hotel in East Hartford. They held a series of discussions on public policy and practices in Connecticut, and participated in lectures, seminars and workshops on information technology for educational management.
Ghanaian principals purchase souvenirs and clothing items in the bookstore.
They also visited high schools in Bloomfield and East Hartford; toured the Connecticut Science Center; visited state government officials at the State House and Legislative Office Building; and met with Connecticut Department of Education officials to discuss financial and behavioral management, supervision, evaluation and professional development; assessment and testing and school safety issues.
After dinner at Biology Professor Yaw Nsiah's home, the principals present Academic Servics Center Director Susan Heyward with a desk pen holder as a gift.
On Sept. 6, the Ghanaian principals toured Eastern's facilities and enjoyed a luncheon hosted by Provost Rhona Free. That evening, they dined at the home of Yaw Nsiah, professor of biology and a native of Ghana, where they expressed gratitude "for Eastern's fine and gracious hospitality" and vowed to send students from their respective schools to Eastern.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn -- Eastern President Elsa Núñez, along with more than 100 students, faculty and staff, greeted Connecticut State Universities and Colleges (ConnSCU) Board of Regents President Gregory Gray to campus on Sept. 18. The new president of Connecticut's Board of Regents for Higher Educatonis in the midst of touring the 17 schools that make up the state's public higher education system. Gray took over as president on July . He oversees the Board of Regents, which governs 12 community colleges, four state universities, and Charter Oak College, the state's on-line institution.
Nunez praised Gray for his vision; his goal of restoring integrity to the system and for finding opportunities for more collaboration between community colleges and the four-year universities.
Gray, noting that Eastern students were already fortunate to have a beautiful, physical setting, said, "Pristine is all around you here. Knowing that you were so dedicated to having such a beautiful campus tells me this same dedication must be taking place in the classroom as well." He said his primary goal is to improve the learning environment on campuses, "making it go from very good to great."
Gray said he believes that by working together with faculty members who have a deep-rooted passion for excellence, ConnSCU will become a world-class system of higher education. To achieve this long-range goal, Gray wants to (1) restore trust and integrity to the system; (2) make the system more efficient and productive; (3) develop a plan to benefit current and future students.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we have to get it right. I want to develop a plan that will positively impact student 25 years from now." He said online education courses; a unified calendar for all system colleges and universities; and seamless transfer of credits will better serve students. "Saving money is important, but that is not the primary goal. We want to provide access and focus on what we should focus on a student's purpose for being here, which is to learn. We then, want tell the world about it."
Gray said he wants board meetings to focus on student presentations about their achievements, and to see more scholarship celebrated on campus through academic fairs showcasing faculty books and student-published articles. He believes his plan will identify areas of efficiency, producing a more clearly-defined niche for each university.
During a question and answer period, Gray told students who want to be assured their voices are heard to "speak up, but get your facts straight. I assure you I will do all I can to support the integration of teaching, learning and service to our students. I say let's improve the overall efficiency of the system; improve the learning environment; give the governor and the legislature a good plan; and get it funded."
Written by Danielle Couture
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University and the Windham Textile and History Museum will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month this fall with two events open to the general public. On Saturday, Sept. 21, Mark Overmyer-Velázquez will deliver a speech, "Global Latinos: Connecticut's Latin American Diaspora", and on Oct. 12, a panel on Latino policy will be held. Both events are scheduled as part of ongoing "Latino Migration Exhibit," on display at the museum through Dec. 8, 2013.
Overmyer-Velázquez, director of El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean and Latin American Studies, will explain how Willimantic's Latinos are part of larger state, national and global diasporic movements. His presentation will "de-center the history and experience of Latinos away from the United States as a singular and single migratory destination and consider instead a larger global framework for understanding the movement of people from Latin American and the Caribbean." The panel on Latino policy will consist of former and current members of Willimantic's Town Council who will address the history of political participation of Latinos in various elected positions and talk about the major policy issues currently impacting the Latino community. Among the panel participants are Lourdes Montalvo, Yolanda Negrón, Luz Osuba, Robert Fernández and Américo Santiago.
In September 1968, the U.S. Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. The observance was expanded in 1989 by Congress to a month-long celebration (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15). Sept. 15 was chosen as the beginning of the month-long celebration because it marks the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua). Mexico's Independence Day is Sept. 16 and Chile's Sept. 18.
Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month has cemented the popular usage of the term "Hispanic," an ethnic label created by the U.S. Congress with the approval of Law 94-311. The law mandated the Census Bureau to collect, analyze and publish demographic data on the Hispanic population. As a result, the term "Hispanic" has been adopted as a government construct to classify people who trace their ancestry to Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean and Central and South America. The term has gained popular acceptance after being used in all census schedules from 1980 to the present. In 1997, a directive of the Office of Management and Budget added the term Latino to Hispanic.
"Global Latinos: Connecticut's Latin American Diaspora" and the panel on Latino policy are part of the Windham Textile and History Museum's Lyceum Series. Both events start at 4 p.m. and will take place at the Windham Textile and History Museum, located at 411 Main St. in Willimantic. The two events are free and open to the general public. The Latino Migration Exhibit opened to the general public on March 22, 2013, and will be on display until Dec. 8, 2013. The exhibit, which documents the history and significance of Latin American immigration to Willimantic since the mid-20th century, can be viewed during the museum's normal operating hours: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. General admission is $7.
For more information, please, contact Ricardo Pérez at email@example.com or Jamie Eves at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 456-2178.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn: -- Charles Tuggle, professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, will present his documentary, "Las Abuelas De la Plaza de Mayo" (The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. Tuggle's presentation is part of Eastern's popular University Hour series, and is sponsored by the Communications Department, Intercultural Center, OLAS (Organization of Latin American Students), School of Education and Professional Studies, and Eastern's Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.
Tuggle's documentary film premiered on Jan. 17 on the UNC campus, and is now being viewed at universities across the country. The film tells the story of Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, an Argentinian human rights organization of grandmothers committed to finding their lost grandchildren, who they believe were stolen by their country's government some 30 years ago.
At least 10,000 -- some estimate as many as 30,000 -- dissidents of the military dictatorship were kidnapped, tortured and killed during Argentina's Dirty War from 1976-1983. Those kidnapped became known as "Los Desaparecidos" or "The Disappeared." Some of the women were pregnant or new mothers when captured, and infants ended up in homes of people sympathetic to the regime. The babies' names, birth dates and other identifiers were changed.
"This isn't something that happened years ago and has no relevance now," said Tuggle. "The grandmothers continue to find missing grandchildren. This is an ongoing injustice. Ordinary women who continue to find missing grandchildren are fighting this battle and serving as an example to all of us that we can make a difference." Las Abuelas has located more than 100 missing grandchildren, many who had no knowledge of their true identities.
Tuggle's daughters Brynne Tuggle Miller and Bethany Tuggle Parker, both graduates of UNC, served as coordinating producer and writer/editor, respectively, for the documentary. "Working on this documentary has been a labor of love," said Miller. "But it's also been such a rewarding experience to work on telling a story that my family is so passionate about and, in the process, complete a work that we are so proud of." Dylan Field, a television director and producer at UNC, served as the film's audio editor and videographer.
For more information, visit searchforidentitydocumentary.com or call Charles Tuggle at (919) 962-5694, or email him at email@example.com.
Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn: Eastern Connecticut State University has been included in the latest edition of the "Public Colleges of Distinction" guidebook. Eastern is the only public college from Connecticut listed in the guidebook. The guide says the colleges and universities listed excel in four distinctions --Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Communities and Successful Outcomes.
"Engaged students" learn the skills they need to succeed in life -- the ability to think flexibly and address problems hands-on -- not just being able to memorize facts and follow orders. Instead, Eastern students learn to communicate, think critically, and solve problems as they explore the world through study abroad, internships, community service projects and undergraduate research.
"Great teaching" occurs in an atmosphere where feedback and encouragement are the norm. Faculty interaction is crucial to learning. "Colleges of distinction" encourage an atmosphere of exciting thought and action, led by professors who care about helping students learn to think for themselves. Academic innovation goes hand-in-hand with personalized learning.
"Vibrant communities" are campus communities that offer activities and events that help students learn even after the books are closed, creating social opportunities for students to develop friendships, and providing students a wide range of intellectually, thought-provoking speakers, seminars, unique films and artistic events.
"Successful outcomes" describes schools that produce students who can think, write, speak and reason, get a job, and most importantly, are also good citizens who can work together with diverse groups of people.
Colleges of Distinction are considered "hidden gems" of higher education, according to the panel of academicians, guidance counselors and parents that made the selection, officials said.
The guidebook describes a College of Distinction as being:
• nationally recognized by education professionals and honored for the excellence of its programs;
• strongly focused on teaching undergraduates, where students are taught by real professors, not by graduate students or teaching assistants, in vibrant classrooms where the faculty keep their students challenged and interested;
• home to a wide variety of innovative learning experiences, from study abroad and scientific research to service learning and internships;
• an active campus with many opportunities for personal development. Whatever their passion, students find plenty of encouragement to help them pursue it; and
• highly valued by graduate schools and employers for its outstanding preparation.
The Public Colleges of Distinction are currently featured on the newly redesigned Colleges of Distinction website and will be featured in the Public Colleges of Distinction eGuidebook available this fall.
Written by Christopher J. Herman
Willimantic, Conn. - For the fifth year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University has been named as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results, released yesterday in The Chronicle's sixth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 45,000 employees at 300 colleges and universities.
In all, only 97 institutions achieved "Great College to Work For" recognition for specific best practices and policies. Eastern won honors in three categories this year: "Collaborative Governance;" "Compensation and Benefits;" "Facilities, Workspaces and Security."
Eastern was one of only three Connecticut institutions to make the list and the only public university among the three; Quinnipiac University and Middlesex Community College were the other two.
"We are honored to be included in 'Great Colleges to Work For'," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Receiving this national recognition once again from the Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying, especially given our high ranking in three important areas of campus operations. The spirit of collaboration that exists on our campus is a strength that helps us better serve our students and the state of Connecticut."
The Chronicle is one of the nation's most important sources of news about colleges and universities. The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution receives recognition is employee feedback.
To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThinkLLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous "Best Places to Work" programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide. Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.
For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit The Chronicle's web site at Meet 2013's Great Colleges to Work For.