University of North Florida students are really going places.
Of the 16,317 students enrolled at UNF last year, 555 of them studied abroad for credit, mostly through short-term faculty-led courses. When you do the math, that’s 3.4 percent of UNF’s students who are going international. According to data released by the Institute of International Education, only about 1 percent of college students nationwide are studying abroad, so UNF’s rate is triple the national average.
“Every year the Institute of International Education puts out a publication called Open Doors, which publishes data from a national survey that’s funded by the U.S. Department of State,” said Dr. Timothy Robinson, director of the International Center at UNF. “The annual report gives statistics on international student and scholars coming to the United States, as well as students from this country who study abroad.”
Robinson said the IIE provides raw data on the number of students participating in different categories of study abroad, including short-term (less than eight weeks), mid-term (summer) and long-term (a semester or more per year). Data recorded also includes the number of exchange students enrolled for a semester or longer at U.S. institutions, which are classified either as doctorate, master’s or baccalaureate institutions. UNF is considered a master’s institution.
“For the last six to eight years, we’ve been in the top 20s in our category for both the total number of students going abroad and the number of students doing short-term study abroad,” Robinson said. “We do a lot of short-term faculty-led programs, which are typically from 10 days to six weeks. About 425 of the 555 students who studied abroad last year fit into the short-term category.”
The most recent data released by the IEE, from the 2008-09 academic year, lists UNF in the Top 40 master’s institutions for the total number of study-abroad students. UNF came in 23rd nationwide, with a total of 446 students earning credit abroad.
UNF students traveled during spring break and will travel this summer with faculty-led courses to 19 countries — Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Spain and Turkey — studying everything from business and construction to deaf education and public health. Students wanting to immerse themselves in other cultures for a semester or longer can study as exchange students at partner institutions in China, Egypt, England, Germany, Japan, Morocco and Spain. Business students can also study at the Coggin College of Business’ partner institutions in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Sweden and Uruguay.
"We have about 30 partner programs with other universities around the world and two-thirds of those are in the Coggin College of Business, which makes good sense because it's just a natural fit," Robinson said. "Nationwide, business programs have always been very international because that's where business takes place. They recognize professionally very clearly the value and importance of international relationships. A dozen or so years ago, Earle Traynham, the dean of the college at the time, made international studies a priority for his college. He had the foresight to do that at that time."
When Dr. Jeffrey Steagall
submitted a proposal for UNF to develop a
reputation in the field of international business in 1996, he had the backing of Traynham, who had asked him
develop the plan. To Steagall’s
Traynham approved every detail. “We
can do all of this,” Traynham
program in the Coggin College of Business is thriving, having attained flagship status in 2006 — only one of four UNF programs to do so. The
designation brought with it extra funding, increased emphasis on
national reputation and a contagious excitement about a program that is
record numbers of students abroad for what the University describes as
transformational learning opportunities.
abroad is opening students’
minds to see how other people live and what different perspectives they
how to do business,” said Dr. Andres Gallo, an associate professor of
and one of the two directors of the flagship program. “For students to
be able to go and see these differences and appreciate these
opens their minds. You know there is not only one way of doing things in
world. There could be multiple ways to get to the same goal, but you
learn how to live with that and you have to learn how to collaborate
people from other cultures.”
According to Robinson, "Getting out and learning about the world you’re living in is tremendously valuable. You learn about yourself when you encounter other people and other cultures. And in doing so, you demonstrate that you’re adaptable, you’re flexible and you can learn how to cope with ambiguity or uncertainty because you’re going places where the language, the culture, everything is different.”
Spring 2011 graduate Robert Noble, a 34-year-old sailor who attended UNF on a Navy scholarship, chose to study construction in France his last semester via a study-abroad course offered by Business Construction Management. Led by James Sorce, instructor and adviser for Building Construction Management, and Dr. Maged Malek, chair and associate professor of the department, the course involved traveling to Paris and Nantes to visit partner institution Lycee Livett, various construction project sites and buildings of historical, cultural and architectural significance, with special emphasis placed on specific issues related to building in France.
“The course was designed to provide students with knowledge and skills in the management of construction projects, including strategic bidding and estimating, ethical conduct, project delivery methods, value engineering, asset allocation, designing and building, customer relations and communications — all in the context of the French market,” Sorce said.
Noble said he enrolled in the course because he loves to travel and learn about other cultures. “I always like to see how other people live their lives. It helps me to focus on larger issues and not just what is happening in Jacksonville or the USA,” he said. “America may be the best country on earth, but that doesn’t mean we do everything the best way it can be done.”
Van Morgan, 26, is a junior studying building construction management. “I decided to go on the study-abroad trip because I thought it would be a great experience and for the different perspective I would get from visiting the construction sites and schools in France,” he said. Morgan said he brought home a thorough understanding of the procedures, materials and management of large construction sites in France. “This experience has given me some great insight on how things operate in France.”
For BCM junior August Rodeck, 22, this was the second time he earned UNF credit overseas, having also traveled to Egypt during another short-term study-abroad course. Rodeck said he was struck by the lack of safety standards at construction sites in France — and also by the country’s impressive modern and historical construction sites and Renaissance and Baroque architecture they studied. “I will put these life experiences on my résumé because I am proud that I went,” Rodeck said. “I now have memories that I will never forget.”
According to Malek, this study-abroad course is an important pillar in the BCM curriculum and was one is a long series of study-abroad courses the department strives to undertake. “The purpose of these courses is to instill in our students a global perspective to help them in landing jobs around the globe, get familiar with different construction techniques adopted by different countries and enhance a general appreciation of a world’s culture,” Malek said. “This exposure broadens the students’ horizons and develops a more rounded education.”
Another spring study-abroad course took 10 health administration students to Shanghai and Xiamen in China to meet with health-care professionals and learn how the country’s health care differs from that in the United States.
Dr. Mei Zhao, associate professor in Public Health, took both undergraduate and graduate students to visit tourist and cultural sites like the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the World Expo and Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, but more importantly, they visited both modern and traditional hospitals and the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, which Zhao said is much like the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S.
“One of my friends happens to work there so we were able to visit their labs, tour different buildings and meet with health-care professionals there,” Zhao said.
UNF student Genevieve Taylor was impressed by the tour of the facility. “The officials spoke with us in great detail about their role at the bureau and that they are responsible for [dealing with] large-scale events such as H1N1, SARS and the recent Tsunami in Japan,” Taylor said.
Visiting the bureau provided the UNF students important insight knowledge about how health care is managed in China, but undergrad Maegen Pearce ironically experienced it firsthand when she awoke on their last morning in Shanghai with a painful, swollen, oozing eye and had to travel with the group to Xiamen before she could be seen by a doctor at a Xiamen hospital.
“As soon as we landed in Xiamen, a bus took Dr. Zhao and me to a local hospital so they could look at my eye. A physician and his nurse were at the hospital waiting to see me,” Pearce said. “A professor from Xiamen University met us at the hospital and the doctor who fixed my eye was actually Dr. Fang, the professor’s eye doctor. Dr. Fang not only met us there, but she was also very kind and paid for my doctor’s visit and both medications the doctor prescribed. In total, the bill came to about $12, which I could not believe. It was extremely cheap to receive the excellent care that I did.” Fortunately the injury, which had been caused by a small metal object that made its way into Pearce’s eye, was only temporary, allowing the grateful student to enjoy the rest of her experiences in China with her classmates.
“In Xiamen, we visited the center for health policy and health economics at our partner university, Xiamen University, where the head of the center gave our students a presentation about health-care reform in China,” Zhao said. “Their students also talked with our students and they studied and did activities together for three days.”
One experience UNF student Matthew Lundy wrote about in his journal was the importance of seeing the many and vastly different types of health care offered in China. “We first visited the Zhongshan Hospital, considered to be one of the top hospitals around. We were able to visit the different departments of the western medical hospital, such as the cardiology floor, to view the rooms and patients in them, and to watch an actual surgery in progress! We then walked over to the traditional medicine building to watch acupuncture, cupping and other types of traditional medicine in progress.”
It’s those types of meaningful firsthand experiences that are provided to the many students who choose to study abroad through various programs in all five colleges at UNF.
“It was proven by research studies that students who experience a global exposure are better prepared to address problems and difficulties in different situations,” Malek said.
It’s all about broadening students’ horizons, according to Robinson. “We’ve got seven bridges right here in Jacksonville, but there’s also the St. Charles Bridge, the London Bridge, the bridge over the River Seine by Notre Dame and all kinds of other bridges to see and learn about,” he said. “We just need to show students what’s out there to see and experience.”
The International Center markets study abroad through study-abroad fairs each semester, various events with Housing, information booths at orientation and parents’ days and by collaborating with other departments on campus. “We’ve been able to develop good ties and relationships with other offices on campus — advisers, departments, colleges, Financial Aid, the Registrar — to get the word out and streamline all the processes involved,” Robinson said. “Not to toot our own horn, but we’ve done a lot of promotion and made it work.”
Robinson, whose office also handles setting up and maintaining collaborative relationships with exchange universities around the world and bringing students from other countries to study at UNF, said the main reason UNF has been so successful in its international endeavors is because the administration supports such activities.
“We’ve got a very administratively supportive immediate supervisor in Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez [vice president for Student and International Affairs]. Much of the success we have had can be attributed to his commitment to internationalization. We also have a very supportive university structure,” Robinson said. “President [John] Delaney knows the value of international experiences, without a doubt, as evidenced by the fact that one of the identifiable TLOs [Transformational Learning Opportunities] is study abroad. I know from direct conversation and experiences that all the deans know that value as well. I’ve been with three of the five deans on international trips to develop academic programs. That alone shows the importance of these kinds of international activities.”
Robinson said studying abroad is not the opportunity of a lifetime, as it’s sometimes described. “It’s the first opportunity of a lifetime. Hopefully, if this is done right and our students have good international experiences, it will change them so that going abroad becomes a part of their life and having an international understanding is not only easy, but actually part of their makeup.”
A portion of this article has been reprinted from a Spring 2010 UNF Journal article written by Dave Roman. To read more about the International Business flagship program, click here.
The majority of UNF students report that they rarely or never text while driving, don’t smoke, have never used marijuana, rarely or never binge-drink, are eating their fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise. Our students are the picture of health. At least that’s what some of the preliminary results from a recent campus-wide student-health survey seem to indicate.
The comprehensive survey was distributed to 15,232 UNF students via e-mail over a four-week period beginning in February. It included 72 questions on health behavior and demographics, with the bulk of the questions focusing on the six dimensions of wellness: social, physical, spiritual, environmental, mental and emotional health.
Researchers wanted to know about students’ nutrition, physical-activity level, tobacco, drug and alcohol use, sexual behavior, mental health, interpersonal relationships and spirituality, among other things. Although it was a huge undertaking and the data collected will be tremendously helpful to the University, the survey itself is not all that unique. What is unique is that the survey was designed, built and conducted by a group of undergraduate students majoring in health science.
“A few students and I were at the American College of Health Association conference last year and part of what that organization does is deliver a student-health assessment for various colleges. It’s something that you have to pay for and it’s pretty standardized,” said Julie Merten, an instructor in UNF’s Department of Public Health. “While we were there, it occurred to me that we should encourage our own students to develop a health assessment. How cool would it be for our students to come up with a survey rather than have it designed by crotchety, old college professors (present company included) who don’t really know what students are up to?”
So the idea was born — and a group of 15 undergraduate community health students, with Merten as their faculty mentor, stepped up and agreed to volunteer their time to tackle the project.
“All the students who volunteered are members of Eta Sigma Gamma, which is an honor society for health education that I’m president of,” said UNF senior Adrienne Williams, who served as the project leader. “We met once a week from October to January to research different surveys, discuss possible questions and topics and lay out the survey, which was a really long process.”
Merten said she provided the students with resources, encouraged the group to review national surveys and provided a lot of guidance along the way, but it was a student-run volunteer project that required a lot of student collaboration, cooperation and teamwork.
“Adrienne spearheaded the entire project, organizing students and getting them mobilized to help,” Merten said. “We found out that narrowing down the survey was the most difficult part, getting it down to a manageable 72 questions that were relevant and meaningful. We all got really attached to many of the questions because we really wanted to know the information, so cutting was very painful.”
Williams said the students involved had already completed half of the community health program, which includes coursework on creating and conducting effective surveys.
“We’d been learning about surveys and implementing and assessing the needs of the campus, our population, and we had already gotten some great hands-on experience evaluating students’ surveys in class,” she said. “Probably the hardest thing with this survey was making it so it was not leading or biased. Wording some of the questions was really challenging because we didn’t want to lead the students in any sense of the way.”
Once it was polished and perfected and had been reviewed by various constituents on campus, the survey went live Feb. 25 — and both Merten and Williams said that’s when the real fun began.
“We were like children on the first day the survey went out,” Merten said. “We kept watching the response rate to see how many students had completed the survey, and it blew up. We were so excited.”
Of the more than 15,000 students who received the survey by e-mail, nearly 2,000 opened the e-mail and more than 1,300 completed the survey.
“We think that’s a very good response rate, especially considering the fact that it was a very long survey with a lot of very personal questions,” Williams said. “We were so excited to finally have the results that we could start looking at.”
Merten, Williams and community health student Kristen Houston presented the survey’s findings to a group of stakeholders at a State of the Student Health Address April 14 in the Student Union.
Key findings highlighted in the presentation include the following:
Dr. Pam Chally, dean of the Brooks College of Health, attended the presentation along with many other stakeholders from the college, the University and the community who were interested in hearing the final results. “This was a huge project that was not even a part of a class and the students really went above and beyond to complete it,” she said. “This is something you might anticipate from a graduate student group but not an undergraduate group. Julie did such a remarkable job mentoring these young women, who were so poised, gracious and professional. Their performance speaks so highly of how special Julie is and what a great job she does mentoring undergraduates.”
Merten said that although the survey’s completed and the results are “hot off the press,” there’s still much more work to be done. The group will provide stakeholders with an executive summary, identify interesting findings for further investigation, conduct focus groups to strengthen student involvement, solicit faculty reviews to improve the instrument and hopefully continue to deliver the survey every spring semester to monitor student health-behavior trends.
“We would like for the survey to be used as a marketing tool for parent and student recruitment because it shows we have a campus that cares about health, we’re involved, and we have some positives to share,” Merten said. “Now that we have this up and running, there’s no reason it can’t be done annually. We’ll do a few tweaks every year, keep up with the trends and do some focus groups to have students review it and give us some feedback.
Merten said the group also applied for and will receive TLO [Transformational Learning Opportunity] funding so they can take what they’ve done and present it at the American Association of Health Education’s national conference in Boston next March.
“At the conference the students will be able to tell others about how exciting it is to have a student-led health assessment on campus. It not only gets students involved and is good for the student learning, it’s great for the college to show parents and the community how they’re doing a survey that says they care about students’ health — and they can market it,” she said. “It’s good for the administration, it’s good for health promotion, it’s a win-win in so many different ways.”
Williams, who graduates Aug. 5, said she’ll use this real-world, hands-on experience to her advantage when interviewing for jobs in public health.
“I actually got internship offers because this experience is exactly what some of them are looking for to survey their employees or their customers,” Williams said. “This is in my portfolio now and it’s something I’m always going to be proud of.”
Faculty, staff and students have become accustomed to construction projects on campus in the last few years, walking around barricades all in the name of strategic growth. But one project about to be undertaken will mean some slight inconveniences for the campus community when it comes to meals.
Before the start of summer semester, the Osprey Café in Building 14 will be torn down to make way for a new, larger dining facility that will be built in the same location. Numerous options are still being discussed, but the building will be at least 28,000 square feet and have two stories. If additional funding can be secured, a third and fourth floor might be added to the facility, providing an additional 20,000 square feet for the Faculty Association and other non-food-related offices.
Once complete in the fall of 2012, the new building will offer several amenities, including many food preparation areas scattered among the eating sections. Possibilities include a wood stone oven for pizza and hot sandwiches, a comfort food station with carved roasts or made-to-order omelets and an extensive salad bar with fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Our intent is to make this more like a restaurant with the majority of the fresh food cooked in front of the customer and not in a hidden kitchen,” said Dave Jordan, resident district manager of Chartwells. “This will allow the customer to see that the food is fresh and prepared in front of them and not mass produced. We will have multiple stations with much more variety for the community.”
Seating capacity at the new Osprey Café will nearly double to 600. Roughly 50 seats will be on the second-floor balcony, overlooking Candy Cane Lake. “The design will have the feel of a cozy, smaller facility based on the use of different furniture such as high tops, booths and traditional tables in different seating areas,” Jordan said.
While the construction is under way, the campus community will have to go elsewhere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Student Union offers the most options, with The Boathouse, Quiznos Sub, Salsarita’s, Coyote Jack’s Grill, Chick-in-Grill and Outtakes. Alumni Square has Sbarro, Freshens, Sushi and another Outtakes. Osprey Fountains offers Ozzie’s Convenience Store and Grill. And of course, one can also recharge with some caffeine and foodstuffs at the Starbucks at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library. Complete menus can be found here.
While the new café will be a selling point for freshmen starting in the fall of 2012, it does present some challenges for Admissions trying to promote UNF to a class of potential students who matriculate this fall. Deb Kaye, associate vice president of Enrollment Services, knows all too well that parents want to make sure their students are not only educated at UNF, they want them well-fed, too. “We have worked closely with Chartwells to make sure that our students have viable dining options during the construction period.”
In an effort to ensure that students and the campus community have well-balanced meals available to them, Chartwells will offer comfort-food stations beginning in Summer B. Sbarro will serve weekday breakfasts and the Student Union location will serve lunch and dinner throughout the school week and brunch and dinner on the weekends. In August, Chartwells will also add a grill on the Green to operate during lunchtime Mondays through Thursdays.
Paul Riel, director of Housing and Residence Life, said the new facility is just what the campus community ordered. “We’re very excited about the direction UNF is going with respect to food. This venue will meet the long-term needs of our residential students.”
The new facility will continue the trend of a more contemporary architectural design on campus, yet blend well with the older buildings. “We feel that the continued use of brick and tinted glass will emphasize this compatibility,” said Zak Ovadia, director of Campus Planning, Design and Construction. “In addition, the use of metal canopies and other sun-shading features will relate strongly to the Student Union, the College of Education and Human Services and the Biological Sciences Building, which is still under construction.”
In keeping with the green trend on campus, the new Osprey Café will be certified as environmentally friendly by the U.S. Green Building Council. Every building constructed at UNF since 2006 has followed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental [LEED] standards. The LEED Green Building Rating System is a voluntary third-party rating system in which credits are earned for satisfying specified green building criteria. Projects are evaluated within six environmental categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation’s leading coalition of corporations, builders, universities, federal and local agencies and nonprofit organizations working together to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.
The University of North Florida is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The well-known education services company selected UNF for inclusion in the just-released second annual edition of its free downloadable book, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition.” Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges” is the only free, comprehensive guidebook profiling institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. “College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president of publishing for The Princeton Review. “Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 69 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.” UNF joins the ranks of outstanding universities and colleges nationwide that are leading the “green” movement through special programs and initiatives. With a nature preserve located in the middle campus, it comes as no surprise that UNF is a green leader. A 382-acre natural area on campus was designated a preserve in May 2006 by UNF President John Delaney. The state-protected area features miles of nature trails as well as numerous lakes and ponds with an abundance of wildlife. The preserve offers students the opportunity to participate in plenty of experiential learning programs. The University has received recognition for its green building practices, and 100 percent of new construction on campus is either LEED-certified or pursuing certification. UNF’s sustainability research takes a multidisciplinary approach. Projects include publishing a State of the River Report for the Lower St. Johns River Basin, presenting status and trends in water quality, fisheries, aquatic life and contaminants; a storm water management and water-quality monitoring project; a hurricane damage assessment and recovery research team that evaluates techniques for sustainable construction; and assessment of the health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems on campus. The Princeton Review chose the 311 schools based on a survey it conducted in 2010 of hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual “Green Rating” scores (scaled from 60 to 99) of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The survey asks administrators more than 50 questions about their institution’s sustainability-related policies, practices and programs. The Company tallied Green Ratings for 703 institutions in summer 2010. The 311 schools in the guide received scores of 80 or above in that assessment. The Princeton Review doesn’t rank the schools in this guide hierarchically (1 to 311) according to their Green Rating scores, nor does it include those scores in the book’s school profiles. The Princeton Review first created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is best known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification. “A green campus can transform the college experience for students through enhanced sustainability education and by creating healthy living and learning environments all while saving energy, water and money as part of an institution’s bottom line,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. The Princeton Review has been a pioneer and leader in helping students achieve their higher education goals for more than 28 years through college and graduate school test preparation and private tutoring. With more than 165 print and digital publications and a free website, the company provides students and their parents with the resources to research, apply to, prepare for and learn how to pay for higher education. The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprised of 79 local affiliates, 16,000 member companies and organizations and more than 155,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009 to 2013.
Mai Keisling wasn’t thinking about her future when she was being violently tossed about in a tiny fishing boat in the stormy East China Sea fleeing war-torn Vietnam in the dead of night. The frail 16-year-old was focused on surviving her ordeal with a small band of desperate refugees.
No one could have predicted the transformation she would undergo when she arrived in the United States. No one would believe this frightened youngster who spoke no English and had been torn from her parents would ever become a responsible citizen who would give back to her community far more than she received.
She made the most of the opportunities that came her way and transformed herself into a gifted Jacksonville teacher and UNF doctoral student. When Bank of America recently recognized Keisling as a community champion, she used the opportunity to give something back to the institution helping to continue that transformation — the University of North Florida. The gift is especially timely because UNF is in the midst of The Power of Transformation campaign, an effort to raise $110 million.
Keisling is an educational leadership doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Services. When Bank of America notified her that she had been selected as one of Jacksonville’s local heroes, she decided to give the $5,000 award to UNF in honor of an art teacher who had helped in her transformation — Betty McCulloch Rover. McCulloch Rover was Keisling’s art teacher at Englewood High School where Keisling graduated fifth in her class in 1986.
The funds will be added to an endowment that supports UNF’s Educator Preparation Initiative, a program designed to address critical teacher shortages in Florida. Keisling has been a guest speaker for several EPI classes. The endowment was created by the Schultz Family Foundation. Keisling’s gift will be the first non-Schultz funds devoted to the program. In return, UNF will place a naming plaque on the office of COEHS emeritus faculty member, Dr. Lynne Raiser, another of Keisling’s mentors.
Englewood High School and UNF represent opposite ends of Keisling’s journey of self-discovery. After high school, she went on to Jacksonville University, where she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
She eventually became an art teacher in the Duval County Public Schools — for 20 years — where she is devoted to transforming the lives of students. In that time, she has amassed one award after another. She has won the Gladys Prior Award for Excellence in Career Teaching from UNF, was voted Teacher of the Year at Paxon High School and was a finalist for Duval County’s Teacher of the Year.
But this latest leg of her journey would not be possible without financial assistance through the Dannehl and Kevin Twomey Endowed Fellowship. She hopes to develop a better understanding of the decision-making process in education and “fulfill a life-long dream of mine to pursue a doctoral degree.”
Already extremely involved in the community through such groups as Catholic Charities and the Mayor’s Asian American Advisory Board, Keisling intends to continue her service to others. The fellowship has given her the financial resources to continue volunteer work along with her teaching duties.
The Bank of America award, she says, is merely the latest example of her philosophy to “pay it forward.”
When the new Military and Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) is completed on campus early next year, it will contain several reminders of the person whose vision and dedication played a major role in its creation.
Visitors to the center will walk into a suite of offices dedicated to Cynthia A. Alderson, its driving force and founding director from 2009 until her death in March of this year at age 55. The naming of the suite in her honor is the result of a contribution by an anonymous donor.
Visitors will also see a framed photo of her, complete with the following inscription:
CDR Cynthia A. Alderson, USN (Ret)
Military and Veterans Resource Center
Dec. 2009 – March 2011
“Fair Winds and Following Seas”
The framed photo was unveiled at a recent memorial service for Alderson on campus by the interim director of the center, Ray Wikstrom, who was recently hired to be the center’s transition coach.
The photo and inscription also may have special meaning to a future student who will be the recipient of the Cynthia Alderson Endowed Memorial Scholarship funded by faculty, staff, students and friends.
These symbols of Alderson’s legacy to UNF merely touch the surface of her real contributions to the University. In her relatively short tenure, Alderson was able to work with many departments on campus to plan, fund and develop a center for military service members and veterans.
Carolyn Prevatte, a friend, former MVRC program coordinator and retired Navy captain, summarized Alderson’s contributions to UNF at the memorial service. “Veterans felt deeply there was a place here where their interests and needs could be served and where they felt they belonged. Cindy brought to her work focus, commitment, passion, talent, integrity, knowledge and a belief that it would all get done and done right sometimes by dragging a few unwilling individuals into her projects.”
Other participants in the memorial service recalled Alderson’s devotion to her job and her selfless attitude as reflected in her decision not to tell most of her colleagues about her five-year battle against breast cancer. Scott Christopher, a Veterans Administration work-study student at the MVRC, recalled many of those she worked with were surprised to learn of her terminal illness. “She was more interested in working for veterans than sharing her illness with others. We pay tribute to a woman who touched countless lives.”
UNF may have been the last organization to benefit from Alderson’s talents but it wasn’t the only beneficiary. Alderson retired from the Navy in 2006 as a commander after rising through the enlisted ranks. Prevatte recalled when Alderson enlisted in the ’70s, women constituted only five percent of active duty military. “She performed her duties in an exceptional manner, often in positions never held by a woman.” At a time when many women were harassed, made to feel unwelcome and resigned from the Navy, Prevatte said Alderson pressed on and continued to be promoted. “She was an exceptional woman in exceptional times.”
Before coming to UNF, Alderson worked for what is now known as Florida State College at Jacksonville as the director of Military and Government Instructional Programs. She pioneered and managed a specialized project that enabled deployed U.S. Army soldiers without Internet access to take college courses.
After Alderson assumed the helm of the MVRC, her influence spread beyond UNF. The University was assigned the lead role within the entire Florida State University System to develop a service and support model for military and veteran student populations.
For her military and educational career spanning 36 years, Alderson was recognized as the recipient of the “Spirit of Rosie Award” presented by the Women’s Center of Jacksonville. The award is presented to women “who have proven themselves in the workplace, broken down barriers, entered non-traditional careers and proven the ‘We Can Do It’ attitude of Rosie the Riveter.”
Mark Middlebrook, a veteran and student assistant at MVRC, said at the UNF memorial service that the University was extremely fortunate to have had Alderson as the MVRC inaugural director. “The center as it stands today is testament to her leadership abilities and love of service members and veterans. She lit the torch for us to carry as we proudly march into the future in her memory.”
Drs. Gigi David, Katrina Hall and Lunetta Williams from the College of Education and Human Services have been working with 25 UNF students this semester, implementing their TLO grant, ABC Literacy: Art, Books, Community. ABC Literacy consists of a series of six integrated arts workshops for 15 families whose children attend Woodland Acres Elementary, a UNF Urban Development School.
This arts-based program encourages family engagement in supporting academic achievement while providing UNF education majors the opportunity to create and implement arts-based activities that enhance school readiness and gain firsthand knowledge of working effectively with at-risk families.
As part of the ABC Literacy program, the College of Education and Human Services hosted a culminating art show April 10, where artwork, examples of the project materials, photos and information about UNF’s Childhood Education program were on display. Around 40 people attended the art show, including Woodland Acres kindergarten children and their families, UNF students involved in the project, faculty, staff and friends of UNF.
Brooks College of Health
Public Health: Dr. Lynne Carroll and Andy Gauler (Psychology) presented a CEU workshop titled “Out-Living: Counseling Aging Sexual and Gender Minorities” at the 57th Annual Meeting of Southeastern Psychological Association in Jacksonville in March.
Dr. Tammie M. Johnson (with O. Carter-Pokras, J. Fried, C. Ye, L. Bethune, S. Williams, L. Chen and R. Fiedler) published “Lost Opportunities for Tobacco Cessation among Diabetic Adults in Florida (2007) and Maryland (2006)” in Preventing Chronic Disease, Vol. 8, No. 3, May 2011.
Coggin College of Business
Accounting & Finance: An article co-authored by Drs. Thomas Barton and John MacArthur appeared in the March issue of Strategic Finance. The article, titled “A New Hue of Green for the Management Accountant,” documents how a Western Massachusetts ski and snowboard resort installed a wind turbine to offset the rising cost of electricity. The turbine generates substantial cost savings, helps fulfill a company objective to protect the environment and even attracts additional visitors to the resort through “green” marketing.
College of Arts & Sciences
Chemistry: Dr. Stuart Chalk presented two papers at the PittCon 2011 Conference in Atlanta: "Crosswalking AnIML with Legacy Data Formats" and "Development of a Markup Language for Scientific Experiments: ExptML." He also presented three posters: "Blogging in the Lab: A Research Information Management System (RIMS) for Faculty"; "Optimization of an Electrically Actuated Inkjet Based Cyanide Detection System"; and "Optimization of the Multivariate Analysis of Mixtures of Arsenate/Phosphate."
Dr. Amy L. Lane published a review article titled “A Sea of Biosynthesis: Marine Natural Products Meet the Molecular Age” in Natural Product Reports, Vol. 28, pages 411-428.
History: Dr. Alison J. Bruey presented a paper titled “Solidaridad: The Churches, the Left, and Grassroots Opposition in Pinochet’s Chile” at the 2011 American Historical Association’s annual meeting.
Dr. Theophilus C. Prousis’ book “Lord Strangford at the Sublime Porte (1821: The Eastern Crisis, Vol. 1” was published by Isis Press, Istanbul (2010). His book “British Consular Reports from the Ottoman Levant in an Age of Upheaval, 1815-1830,” published in 2008 by Isis Press, has just been reissued in hardback by Gorgias Press (2010).
Languages, Literature & Cultures: Dr. Shira Schwam-Baird has edited and translated Valentin et Orson’s “Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.”
Mathematics & Statistics: Dr. Faiz Al-Rubaee gave a talk titled “The UNF Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Summer Camp (MSESC)” at the Florida section of the Mathematical Association of America & Florida Two-Year College Mathematics Association meeting in Orlando.
Dr. Daniel Dreibelbis gave a talk titled “Fractals from Root-Solving Methods” at the Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America & Florida Two-Year College Mathematics Association meeting in Orlando.
Dr. Daniela Genova served as the program chair for the Florida section of the Mathematical Association of America and Florida Two-Year College Mathematics Association meeting in Orlando, and was elected president for 2012-2013.
Dr. Scott Hochwald presented a talk, “Name That Curve,” at the Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America & Florida Two-Year College Mathematics Association meeting in Orlando. He also received this year’s MAA award for distinguished service to mathematics for the state of Florida. Since 1994, Hochwald has served as vice-president, president, and most recently as governor of the Florida section of the MAA, representing our state to the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America.
Dr. Kening Wang gave an invited presentation titled “An Iterative Substructuring Algorithm for C0 Interior Penalty Methods” at the 20th International Conference on Domain Decomposition Methods in La Jolla, Calif.
Political Science & Public Administration: Dr. Hyunsun Choi published “Community Regeneration in Transition: Institutional and Intellectual Development for Sustainable Development” in the Journal of Governance Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2, pages 167-178, December 2010.
The U.S. Patent Office recently issued patent number 7892495 to Dr. Jay Huebner’s ”Sensing Device and Method for Rapidly Determining Concentrations of Microbial Organisms Using Interfacial Photo-voltages.” The co-inventors are Dr. Doria Bowers (Biology) and Erica Mejia Kelly.
Dr. Christopher Leone, in collaboration with Dr. Minor Chamblin, gave an invited symposium presentation titled “History of the Psychology Department at University of North Florida” at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association. At the same conference, Leone (with LouAnne Hawkins, Honors Program; Meghan Babcock; and Matt Valente, Residence Life) conducted an invited interest group presentation titled “The Mentor-Protégé Relationship: What Works and What Doesn’t” and made the following presentations with several of his graduate and undergraduate students: “Love will ‘keep us together’ – or not” with David Beane and Dustin Thomas; “Effects of self-monitoring on perceptions of former romantic partners” withBabcock and Natalie Hofmann; “Individual differences in using illusions to cope with relationship loss” withRonald and Lianne Bronzo; “Perceptions of child abuse: When context makes a difference” with Iqra Javed, Sara Keane, Hawkins and Cory Trevina; “Religiosity, politics, and attitudes toward capital punishment” with Heather Johnston, Andrew Wood and Benjamin Cyrus; “Self-monitoring and inclusion of other in self” with James Kindelsperger and Hofmann; and “Mere thought and attitude polarization: Another look” with Matt Valente, Christina Nicolaides, Shawn Lewis, Omar Aleman and Rick Mottola.
College of Computing, Engineering & Construction
Lisa Jamba and Dr. Arturo Sanchez, with L. Howell and S. Kimball, published their paper, "Computational Thinking: Modeling Applied to the Teaching and Learning of English," in the proceedings of the 48th ACM Southeast Conference, which was held March 24-26.
The School of Computing hosted the 14th regional Botball Educational Robotics Competition for middle and high school students, held at UNF March 12.Dr. Charles Winton serves as the Botball program director for the region. The competition featured robots based on the iRobot Create module and custom designs developed from a parts kit. Fourteen teams competed, including two from Zimbabwe.
Construction Management: James Sorce and Dr. Mag Malek conducted a study-abroad course in France with 12 Construction Management students. The CM students toured a number of French construction projects, a wind tunnel, and visited two French engineering/construction schools, Livet in Nantes and EPF in Paris.
Engineering: Dr. Chris Brown presented two papers with civil engineering students at the Annual Florida Academy of Science Conference. The peer-reviewed extended abstracts were published in the Florida Scientist, Vol. 74 (Supplement 1), 2011: “Development of a Preliminary Pipeline Transportation Network for Carbon Sequestration Sites in Florida” (with B. Poiencot); and “A Study of Paleogroundwater Levels within the Floridan Aquifer System in Florida” (with M. Gandee). Brown also received the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Bliss Medal for outstanding teaching and service to students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. In addition, Brown, Dr. Alan Harris, Aaron Watkins and Justin Komma published their paper titled "Exposing High School Teachers to Wireless Sensor Network Research in the University of North Florida Environmental Hydrology Living Laboratory: A Study in Active Learning" in the Review of Higher Education and Self-Learning, Vol. 4, No. 8. Harris and Nick Hudyma (with J. Edgar and K. Nguyen) presented their paper titled "Interfacing a Rotary Stage and DSLR Camera for Automated Core Photography System" at the Symposium on Engineering Geology and Geotechnical Engineering March 23-25.
UNF EE students Joey Edgar and Kevin Nguyen came in fifth out of more than 30 teams at the IEEE SouthEastCon 2012 Robotics Student Competition. Dr. Chiu Choi served as the faculty adviser for the senior design robotic project and Harris served as adviser for the IEEE competition team.
Dr. Daniel Cox served as faculty adviser to student Harry Vaswani, who received 1st prize and an award in the Student Suborbital Experiment Competition for his paper “Early Stages for Investigations of Zero-G Experiments of Bone Density Bioreactor.” Cox also advised other UNF students receiving recognition at the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in February: MichaelToth, Bernadette Quijano and Alex Wegznak. The conference brings together industry, academia and NASA officials in addressing innovations, topics, and issues in the newly emerging commercial space industry.
High school students from Orange Park, A. Philip Randolph, and Englewood participated in the Architectural, Construction Management, and Engineering (ACE) mentoring program. Local professionals volunteered their time several days a month to introduce the students to these fields. The students’ year culminated with a trip to the UNF School of Engineering in March, where Jean Fryman presented “The Engineering Profession as it Relates to the Construction Management Industry” and hosted a site visit of the new Biology Building by AJAX Construction.
Dr. Chun-Ye Susan Vasana had a book chapter titled “Diversity and Decoding in Non-Ideal Conditions” published in the book “Advanced Trends in Wireless Communications,” ISBN 978-953-307-183-1, published by InTech Open Access in February.
Dr. Patrick Welsh and Terry Smith participated in a February UNF-GTMNERR [Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve] workshop to communicate and coordinate the direction of a future research partnership. The GTMNERR offers a wide range of environmental, biological and engineering research opportunities. Welsh also participated in the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) Board of Directors meeting in March. SECOORA coordinates the coastal and ocean observing system in the Southeast.
College of Education & Human Services
Childhood Education: Dr. Nile Stanley and Dr. Laurel Stanley, UNF Doctor of Education alum, have published an article titled “Predicting FCAT Reading Scores Using the Reading-Level Indicator” in Reading Psychology, Vol. 32, No. 2, pages 99–112. Dr. Katie Monnin has signed her fourth book contract. The book will be titled “Teaching Content Area Graphic Novels” and will be co-authored with Dr. Meryl Jaffe from Johns Hopkins University. Furthermore, Monnin was featured in The Florida Times-Union's weekly column titled "One of Us," about a local person doing something interesting. To read the article, go to http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/400799/charlie-patton/2011-03-15/one-us-unf-literacy-professor-advocate-using-graphic.
Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management: This year at the American Educational Research Association 2011 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, several faculty presented papers. Dr. Carolyn Stone co-presented her paper “Increasing Cultural Competence to Support Diverse Student Populations,” along with Dr. Carol Dahir. Dr. Christopher Janson presented his paper “Dreams of Success: The Academic Motivations of African American Secondary Students in Urban Schools.” Janson also led a roundtable session titled “Collective Leadership: An Analysis of the Past, Present and Future of the Kellogg Leadership for Community Change Series (2002-2014).” Dr. Sejal Parikh presented her paper “School Counselors’ Perceptions of Asian Indian Students.” Dr. Warren Hodge co-presented his paper “An Evaluative Study of a District’s Middle School Uniform Policy: Merit, Worth, and Impact” with former UNF and department colleague Dr. La’Tara Osborne-Lampkin. Exceptional Student & Deaf Education: Drs. Caroline Guardino and Susan Syverud, with graduate students Amy Joyner and Heather Nicols, presented “A Phonological Instruction Package Delivered in a Total Communication Setting: Did it Hit Home?” at the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 2011 Annual Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas. The presentation detailed the third study in a strand of research that focuses on teaching reading to children with a hearing loss. At this same conference, Guardino, Dr. Joanna Cannon from the University of British Columbia and graduate students Joyner, Nicols and Paige Skipperpresented “How do we Teach D/HH Students who are also English Language Learners (ELLs)?” This project focused on understanding strategies to use with deaf students who are also English Language Learners. This team will also submit a manuscript on this topic to The American Annals of the Deaf in April. At the 2011 Professional Development Schools National Conference, Syverud presented her and Hall’s research in a workshop titled “Preparing Candidates to Teach Reading in an Urban Professional Development School: The Impact of a Tertiary Prevention for First Graders At-Risk for Failure.”
In March, UNF hosted the Inaugural Florida Statewide Student Research Symposium titled Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Graduate students Joyner and Nicols presented research they completed as undergraduates under the mentorship of Syverud and Guardino. The title of their presentation was “Impacting Deaf Struggling Readers: The Outcomes of Phonological Instruction.”
Julie Betz-Cabrera (Academic Center for Excellence) and Heather Kenney (Brooks College of Health Administration) presented “Academic Advising: Fostering Collaborations With Student Affairs” at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Annual Conference in Philadelphia in March. To review an abstract, go to http://www.naspa.org/conf/sch/sch.cfm?startdate=16.
Rachel Broderick (Enrollment Services) and Bruce Turner (Academic Center for Excellence) presented “Academic Roadmaps: Charting the Path and Staying on Course” to an audience of higher education administrators and advisers from around the country at the SunGard Higher Education Summit in New Orleans in March. In response to the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) expectation that all SUS campuses implement some form of tracking/monitoring system, UNF developed an Academic Roadmap tool. Utilizing the existing CAPP system, the University developed a tool to track and monitor undergraduate student progress toward degree completion. Collaboration between department chairpersons, academic advisers and Information Technology Services resulted in the creation of an Academic Roadmap (a course sequence guide with established mile-markers) for every undergraduate major at the University.
Dr. John Frank (Institute for Values, Community & Leadership) facilitated the North Florida Catholic Listening Assembly in February at the University Center. The day-long process of dialogue and theological reflection engaged nearly 100 participants in efforts to give greater voice to the laity that might impact structural and governance reform of the Catholic Church and make leadership within the institutional church more transparent and accountable to the reforms called for by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The process was one of more than 65 similar local/regional listening sessions across the country building momentum toward the inaugural convening of the American Catholic Council http://www.americancatholiccouncil.org/ in Detroit this summer.
Department: Student Affairs/ Fraternity and Sorority LifeJob: Coordinator for Fraternity and
Sorority LifeYears at UNF: One
What does your job at UNF entail?
I serve as resource to student leaders in the fraternity and
sorority community by helping to facilitate leadership and programming
experiences, advising the governing councils and collaborating with University
administrators to maintain resources for the community. The fraternity and sorority
community includes more than 1,200 of UNF’s most involved and dedicated
students. Working with them is a pleasure and helping them reach their
potential as student leaders is very rewarding.Tell us something that would surprise
people to know about you:
I had a rare
neurological disease that left me completely paralyzed for about a week and
made a remarkable recovery.What are you most passionate about?
God, family, my
pets, fitness, the fraternity and sorority life experience, education, justiceTell us about your family.
I have a wonderful
family. My parents are retired and live in Virginia. I do not have any
children, but a small brown Chihuahua named Cody has stolen my heart! I have a
wonderful boyfriend and his dog’s name is Fred. If you could choose any other career,
what would it be and why?
because I love the gym environment, comfortable clothing and helping people
reach their full potential.What would you like to do when you
relaxWhat is your favorite thing about
working at UNF?
The people and the
campus! We have great people and a beautiful campus!What is the best thing you ever won?
An all-expense paid
trip for my whole family! We went to Denver, Colo.If you won the lottery, what would do
with the money?
Save most of it but
I would make my life a little more comfortable with the rest.If you were not working at UNF, what
would you be doing?
Since I didn’t win
the lottery from the previous question, I would be working somewhere else … What is your favorite way to blow an
Shopping or napping What was the best money you ever spent?
I purchased a really
great mattress. If I spend eight hours a day somewhere — it needs to be very
comfortable! What was the first concert you ever
attended, and what was the most recent concert you attended?
My parents used to
carry me to concerts all the time when I was little so I have no idea what my first
concert was. My most recent concert was a couple of weeks ago — Kenny Chesney!
Who is the most famous person you ever met?
Tim McGrawWhat person had the greatest impact on
Tell us something about you that even your
friends don’t know:
I am very afraid of
ski lifts. What do you hope to accomplish that you
have not done yet?
A million different things and the list
grows every day.What’s the last book you read?
Q: From Judy Smith, administrative secretary, Philosophy — After the controlled burns over spring break, I have noticed a lot of trees and bushes seemed to have been burned badly. Will those have to be removed or will they come back out?
A: From John Moscarillo, horticulturist, Physical Facilities — Actually the controlled burn will help the trees. The larger pines have a thick bark that protects the trunk from the heat and the burning of the leaf litter and small branches will return nutrients to the soil that the trees will be able to use. The north side of that area was burned last year and has returned to a lush and vigorous state.
from Judy Smith — Why was the big tree beside J. J. Daniel Hall (Building 1) removed?
A: Also f
rom John Moscarillo — The large tree beside J. J. Daniel Hall was a Golden Rain Tree, Koelreuteria paniculata, and had developed a series of decayed areas in its limbs and truck that became a danger to students and buildings. The replacement is an Olive tree whose branches are the traditional symbol of peace, fitting the character of the plaza.
Employees who have UNF-related questions they would like to have answered in the next issue of Inside are encouraged to send them to
Submitted questions will be considered for publication in the "Good Question" column, which is designed to help inform the campus community about relevant issues. When submitting questions, please include your name, department and job title, which will be included if your question is selected. The submission deadline is the 15th of each month. For more information, contact Cathy Cole at
Congratulations to the following employees who will celebrate a milestone anniversary at UNF in May.
Beverly Evans, Director of Support Organizations, Training and Services Institute
Jeffrey Ross, Stores Receiving and Supply, Physical Facilities
Diana Bednarik, Graphic Designer, Training and Services Institute
Charles Calhoun, Chair and Professor, Accounting and Finance
Charlene Dawston, Office Manager, Health Promotions
Lien Phan, Coordinator of Budgets, Student Affairs
Tamra Conner, Office Manager, Art and Design
Waheeda Rahman, Office Manager, Aquatics Center
Evelyn Serrano, Office Manager, Controller’s Office
Daniel Simon, IT Network Engineer, Information Technology Services
Patricia Colvin, Adjunct, Public Health
Larry Wagoner, Adjunct, Brooks College of Health
The following employees were either hired by UNF or were promoted from OPS positions from mid-March to mid-April:
Rosana Moreira, Coordinator, Student Affairs
Joseph Parisil, Accounting Associate, Student Government Business and Accounting Office
Joseph Rodil, Accounting Associate, Student Government Business and Accounting Office
Heather Varian, Director of Annual Giving, Institutional Advancement
Coggin College of Business faculty member Ping Zhan Kuca and her husband, Mark, a UNF alumnus, welcomed their son, Jonathan Li Kuca, March 27, 2011. The new Osprey weighed in at 8 pounds and measured nearly 21 inches long.
Kara Tucker, a coordinator in the Office of Admissions and also the vice mayor of Neptune Beach City Council, received the Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy award for her efforts in promoting disability awareness throughout the Jacksonville community. The award, named in honor of the South Florida resident and member of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), was presented to Tucker in Tallahassee during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami-Dade). She noted that the award is given each year to an individual with developmental disabilities who demonstrates advocacy activities, enthusiasm for partnerships within his or her community and dedication to facilitating community integration, employment and inclusion.
Early parenting choices are never clear-cut and deciding whether to allow your infant to watch television or DVDs ranks as one of the more perplexing. Dr. Katrina Hall, a childhood education professor, discusses whether TV for babies is helpful or harmful.
If a parent or caregiver needs a break, does it hurt to allow infants to watch a little television?
A recent long-term study conducted by the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital in Boston followed the television viewing of children 0 to 3 years of age and found that children who watched an average of 1.2 hours of television per day or less didn’t seem to be negatively affected, particularly in regard to their vocabulary development. So, the answer is probably not if it’s just a small amount of television. I would suggest that parents and caregivers stick to positive, child-appropriate shows, with an emphasis on those on the public broadcasting channel or videos that the parent or caregiver can control. Public broadcasting shows are more likely to be scrutinized for their quality and messages and often are connected with children’s books, which can provide a link to reading and interactions with books. However, research on the brain indicates that the first three years of a child’s life are critical, so parents and caregivers should use great caution when determining how their child spends their waking hours.
Why is learning from a real person better than television?
Infants are developing their secure attachment to caregivers in the first couple of years and it’s imperative that they’re interacting closely with a caring adult. Further, adults are able to monitor the infant’s stimulation and adjust accordingly. If a child is getting tired or over-stimulated, the caregiver can stop the activity. With regard to learning, the vocabulary and concept development of a child who is interacting with a real person is much greater and richer than he or she might get from watching a television show or video. More learning will occur if a child is interacting with a person, a book or a toy.
Should parents and caregivers discuss with their kids what they are watching on television?
Yes. I would suggest that the caregiver sit with the infant or child and talk about what they’re watching, making comments about the action on the screen and discussing the show’s messages, even if the child is too young to respond verbally to the caregiver’s conversation. For older children, discussion helps them develop critical-thinking skills, particularly in the area of commercials. The average child sees 40,000 commercials a year and $15 billion dollars is spent on research and marketing to children in a largely unregulated industry. Adults need to help children view television with a skeptical eye.
“Ask UNF” is a monthly column promoting the expertise of faculty and staff that runs in The Florida Times-Union community section.
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has announced the following grants and contracts:
Dr. Cheryl Fountain (Florida Institute of Education): “Jacksonville Journey Evaluation Program,” Early Learning Coalition of Duval, $120,000
Dr. Jeffrey Michelman (Accounting and Finance), “Mobility Project to Advance the Transatlantic Business School Alliance (MPA-TABASA),” University of North Carolina-Willmington/U.S. Department of Education, $78,000
Janice Donaldson (Small Business Development Center), “FSBDCN Growth Acceleration Program (GAP),” University of West Florida/U.S. Small Business Administration, $374,000; “Small Business Technical Assistance to the City of Jacksonville,” City of Jacksonville, $98,940; “Turnaround Business Assistance Program,” University of West Florida/U.S. Small Business Development Center, $113,810
Dr. Chris Brown (Engineering), “An Assessment of Carbon Sequestration Potential in Florida,” Gulf Power Company, $15,000; “Melvin Price Wood River Underseepage Limited Reevaluation Report and Environmental Assessment on Design Deficiency Corrections,” Battelle Memorial Institute/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, $6,361
Drs. James Fletcher and Joseph Campbell (Engineering), “Militarized Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) Laptop Power Supply,” $2,642,961
Dr. Paul Eason (Engineering), “Materials Testing Support for the James Webb Space Telescope,” Genesis Engineering Solutions, Inc., $3,090
Dr. N. Mike Jackson (Engineering), “Project to Evaluate the Mechanical Properties of JEA Buckman Street Sludge Cake with NSGS Bed Ash,” Camp, Dresser & McKee, Inc./JEA, $8,000
Dr. James Gelsleichter (Biology), “Assessing Impacts of Oil Exposure to Deep Sea Ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico Using Sharks and Scavengers as Integrative Models,” Florida International University/Florida Institute of Oceanography, $67,917; “Monitoring of the Coastal Pelagic Fish Complex for Assessing DWH-Related Trophic Changes and Contaminant Exposure,” Nova Southeastern University/Florida Institute of Oceanography, $86,185
Drs. Courtney Hackney and Matthew Kimball (Biology), “Workshop: Managing Florida’s Coastal Rivers with Rising Ocean,” Florida Sea Grant Program/National Sea Grant College Program, $5,600
Dr. Kristine Webb (Exceptional Student and Deaf Education/Disability Resource Center), “Florida Consortium on Postsecondary Education Transition Programs and Intellectual Disabilities,” University of South Florida/U.S. Department of Education, $60,000
The pomegranate fruit has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Mythological accounts from Persia, Greece and Egypt mention the fruit. California produces the most pomegranates and the Wonderfulvariety is the main one grown. Peak months are November and December, although the fruit is in stores from October to January. Linda Lockett-Brown, a visiting nutrition professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, discusses myths and facts about the tangy, sweet pomegranate.
Myth: It’s hard to work with pomegranates.
Fact: It’s easy to remove the seeds from pomegranates. Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with water. Cut the pomegranate open and place both halves in the water. Separate the seeds from the inner membrane. Discard the membrane. Skim to remove any broken arils. The seeds are ready to use after draining in a colander.
Myth: Pomegranates are hard to juice.
Fact: There are three ways to juice a pomegranate. A hand-press juicer is better than an electric juicer to keep the bitter membrane out. Cut the pomegranate in half like a grapefruit. Hand press the juice and pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. The second method uses an electric blender. Blend up to 2 cups of seeds until liquefied, then strain. The last method doesn’t require equipment. Place the pomegranate on a hard surface and roll gently using the palm of your hand. Continue until the sound of seeds cracking stops. Pierce the rind and press to release the juice. Whatever method you choose, be careful because the juice stains.
Myth: Drinking pomegranate juice decreases prostate cancer and reverses heart disease.
Fact: Decreases in prostate cancer markers and the thickness of blood vessel walls occurred in small numbers of people who drank 8 ounces of a specific brand of pomegranate juice for several weeks. The relationship between eating foods containing antioxidants and lower cancer risk is well documented. The same is true for heart disease. Pomegranate is higher in several antioxidant polyphenols than many fruits; however, the tests reported are promising but preliminary.
Myth: Pomegranate is better than other fruits at helping to decrease blood pressure.
Fact: A short-term study found decreases in systolic (the top number) blood pressure. This isn’t surprising. Any fruit or vegetable that contains potassium will help reduce blood pressure. Other high potassium fruits are oranges, grapefruit, raisins, dates, bananas, plantains, peaches and prunes.
Myth: Drinking pomegranate juice is completely harmless.
Fact: There are several reports of significant changes in blood clotting time (INR) in people taking the blood thinner warfarin and drinking pomegranate juice several times a week. Be sure to tell your health-care provider if you drink pomegranate juice and take blood thinners. Extracts of pomegranate juice have shown mixed results with production of estrogen-like activity and increased growth of breast cancer cells in culture. A small trial with post-menopausal women showed increase in serum estrone levels. The significance of these findings is unclear. Women with a history of breast cancer in their family may want to exercise caution.
The Goods is a monthly column about food myths and facts by faculty members in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. Have a question about pomegranates? Contact Brown at email@example.com.
Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad
1/2 cup chopped scallions1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or 1 tablespoon dried mint1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon ground pepper1/2 teaspoon angelica powder1 long seedless cucumber, peeled and dicedSeeds of 2 pomegranates1 fresh lime, peeled and sliced, with inner skin removed
In serving bowl, combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt.
Serves 4 to 6
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