Hofstra Horizons - Spring 2015

Page 1



Building the Dream:

The Center for STEM Research at Hofstra University


president’s COLUMN The excellence of our faculty’s teaching, research and scholarly activities is key to Hofstra’s success as a leader in higher education. The projects highlighted in this issue of Hofstra Horizons serve as evidence to this fact. With this spring issue, I invite you to learn about the contributions of the faculty to our community. As always, I am proud to recognize their accomplishments. In the first article, Dr. Martine Hackett probes the inequitable distribution of health outcomes across suburban populations – comparing the changing realities of race and class in Ferguson, Missouri, to similar issues in Nassau County and in suburbs across the United States. Next, Dr. M. David Burghardt shares with us his journey at Hofstra, the fulfillment of his research dreams, and the creation of the Center for STEM Research. His research projects have been funded through several different awards made by the National Science Foundation totaling $35 million over 22 years. In the third article, Dr. Phyllis Zagano details her findings after offering an experimental noncredit Massive Online Open Seminar on a specialized topic in religion in the summer of 2014. Next, Dr. Jeffrey Froh created a national dialogue on gratitude in youth that led to the release of his recent book, Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character. Finally, the last article by Dr. Stephen Hernandez and Dr. Diane Schwartz affirms the need for the Hofstra Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (HECIS) program, which was launched as a result of a U.S. Department of Education $1.24 million grant to train a new core of special education professionals. Today, Hofstra is ranked among the top universities and colleges in the United States, and these five articles showcase a principal reason for our success. The research highlighted in this issue provides all of us with invaluable insights and reaffirms the value of the scholarship in which we engage at Hofstra. Sincerely,

HOFSTRAhorizons Research and Scholarship at Hofstra University

table of contents


Suburban Health Inequalities: The Hidden Picture


Building the Dream: The Center for STEM Research at Hofstra University

page 38 2 014 Hofstra University Mentor of the Year Award Stuart Rabinowitz, JD President

Herman A. Berliner, PhD Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sofia Kakoulidis, MBA

Stuart Rabinowitz, JD President

Associate Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs

Alice Diaz-Bonhomme, BA Assistant Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs

provost’s COLUMN


Taming the MOOS: Massive Online Open Seminars in Religion


Making Grateful Kids: Saying “Thank You” Is Beyond Good Manners


Hofstra Meets the Educational Needs of Young Children With Developmental Disabilities

HOFSTRA HORIZONS is published annually by the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs, 144 Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York 11549. Each issue describes in lay language some of the many research and creative activities conducted at Hofstra. The conclusions and opinions expressed by the investigators and writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect University policy. ©2015 by Hofstra University in the United States. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of Hofstra University. Inquiries and requests for permission to reprint material should be addressed to: Editor, HOFSTRA HORIZONS, Office for Research and Sponsored Programs, 144 Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York 11549-1440. Telephone: 516-463-6810.

This spring 2015 issue of Hofstra Horizons brings another exciting summary of the excellent research produced by our faculty. The topics explored are as diverse and vast as discovering the hidden aspects of suburban health inequality in Nassau County, the creation and success of Hofstra’s Center for STEM Research, conducting a Massive Online Open Seminar in religion, developing strategies to foster gratitude in children, and preparing the next generation of early childhood special educators. The first article, by Dr. Martine Hackett, explores the public health problems that plague the suburbs. Her Photovoice project, a participatory research method that brings together community members to take pictures and encourage dialogue on the needs of their communities, has helped her identify health inequalities and explore possible solutions to these issues. Next, Dr. M. David Burghardt details his journey and milestones in developing the Center for STEM Research at Hofstra University, which was funded in large part by National Science Foundation grants totaling $35 million over a 22-year period. A recent $2.5 million NSF grant has enabled Dr. Burghardt and his team to focus on developing and implementing hands-on and online engineering design challenges for local Boys & Girls Clubs of America – with the goal of understanding STEM learning in more informal environments. In the third article, Dr. Phyllis Zagano argues the pros and cons of online education, specifically her Massive Online Open Seminar in religion. Her 30-day seminar focused on the ordination of women and registered 292 participants from 14 countries. With the use of technology and the enthusiasm of the diverse participants, this seminar proved to be a positive online education experience. The next article, by Dr. Jeffrey Froh, discusses his study on the effects of gratitude in young children. His findings have shown that gratitude yields positive outcomes in daily interactions. In his recent book, Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character, Dr. Froh provides teachers, caregivers and parents with practical strategies for making children grateful on an ongoing basis. With an increase of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum, Dr. Stephen Hernandez and Dr. Diane Schwartz launched a program to develop a new cohort of early childhood special education teachers. The Hofstra Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (HECIS) program, funded by a $1.24 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, will help fill a national need for professionals with the requisite skills to work with young children with disabilities. Hofstra’s HECIS program not only prepares teachers to serve students with disabilities but also qualifies graduates to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. The most impactful faculty are scholar-teachers, leaders in their disciplines who recognize the importance of teaching and research. I am pleased to acknowledge that our faculty fulfill this role in an exemplary manner, and I am proud to present their research and opinions in Hofstra Horizons. Congratulations to all our authors. Sincerely,

Herman A. Berliner, PhD Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Suburban Health Inequalities: The Hidden Picture Martine Hackett, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Health Professions, Hofstra University

During the late summer of 2014, news from Ferguson, MO, dominated the headlines: “Ferguson Unrest Shows Poverty Growing Fastest in Suburbs” — Bloomberg News

“Politics Counts: Ferguson, Mo., Among Shifting Suburbs” — The Wall Street Journal

“Hit by poverty, Ferguson reflects the new suburbs” — CBS News

“The death of America’s suburban dream“ — The Guardian


Hofstra HORIZONS t Spring 2015


he tragic events in Ferguson identified a new reality: the problems of the city are the problems of the suburbs. These “shifting” suburbs are now home to a more diverse population in terms of age, ethnicity, household size, and poverty status. By 2008 the number of poor people living in suburbs exceeded the number of poor people in primary cities by 1.5 million (Kneebone & Berube, 2013). This reality lies in stark contrast to the historic portrayal of suburban areas as wealthy and healthy enclaves, far removed from urban problems. The contemporary field of public health originated from the consequences of urbanization during the 19th century and

focused on controlling the spread of communicable diseases, cleaning up toxic environments and managing poor urban residents. Today, public health problems are still seen as urban problems: think HIV rates in marginalized populations, food deserts that contribute to obesity, and the legislative efforts of former Mayor Bloomberg in New York City. Overall, higher income suburbs do have better health outcomes. The national County Health Rankings report in 2014 ranked suburban Nassau County on Long Island sixth for health outcomes for all counties in New York state. The Bronx was last, with the worst health outcomes in New York state. Those who work in public health view the problems of suburban


populations as less significant than those in urban areas in their breadth, depth, and urgency. However, public health problems do not stop at the city line. The same changing realities of race, class, and power in the suburbs that sparked protests last summer in the Midwest also influence the health of the people who live here on Long Island.

1,000 births; childhood asthma discharge rates are higher in Uniondale than in East Meadow; and the teen pregnancy rate in Uniondale is six times higher than in neighboring East Meadow (NYS Department of Health, 2011). Overall in Nassau County, black and Hispanic residents are twice as likely as white residents to die prematurely. Certain health outcomes are worse for blacks in Nassau County than in New York City. For example, the infant mortality rate among blacks in Nassau is one and a half times higher than for blacks in New York City.

Hidden Health Problems in the Suburbs Suburban health is strongly influenced by geography. In a 2013 Nassau County Department of Health Community This is also true for some rates of cancer Needs Assessment, health outcomes and coronary disease. How do we were examined by ZIP code: explain these stark health differences 12 ZIP codes where the majority of that belie the image of what the suburbs non-Hispanic black and Hispanic are supposed to be? populations live in Nassau County were combined and Infant Mortality Rate compared to all the other ZIP codes that are majority white.

Those who are poor, less educated, and minorities in the United States generally have a higher burden of illness, premature death, and disability compared to those who are more advantaged. Even when there is financial and geographic access to care, studies have documented that minorities often receive a lower quality of care for the same conditions. In addition, the very same factors that public health research has identified as affecting health – community design, housing, employment, environmental pollutants, and access to healthy foods – are worse in lower-income communities across the country.

The same changing realities of race, class, and power in the suburbs that sparked protests last summer in the

Comparing the differences between these two sets of ZIP Midwest also influence codes demonstrates wide the health of the people who disparities and inequality. The hospitalization rate for asthma live here on Long Island. and Type 2 diabetes is two and a half times higher for select Source: NYS DOH, Nassau County Perinatal Outcomes by Zip Code 2009-2011 communities compared to the rest of the county; the case rates of Infant Mortality Rate in Nassau County by Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2011 16 – syphilis and chlamydia are five times Compared to other higher; and the teen pregnancy rate is 47 14 – 13.4 countries, the United per 1,000 in select communities 12 – States spends more on compared to less than 10 in the rest of health care than any 10 – Nassau County. NYC Black other nation, yet we are Infant Mortality 8 – Rate, 8.6 among the least healthy Zooming more closely into Nassau 6 – among peer countries by County we see large disparities in health 3.8 most measures of health. outcomes —communities of color 4 – 2.7 One of the key invariably fare much worse than 2 – contributors to this communities that are majority white. 0 discrepancy is the Consider the differences between two White Black Hispanic inequitable distribution adjacent communities: Uniondale’s Rate per 1,000 live births. Source: NYS DOH, Nassau County Health Indicators by Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2011, http://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/community/ of health outcomes infant mortality rate is 11.5 per 1,000 minority/county/index.htm across populations. births and East Meadow has just 0.9 per

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70% –

Premature Deaths in Nassau County by Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2011

60% –



50% – 40% – 30% –


20% – 10% – 0%

White Black Hispanic

<75 years. Source: NYS DOH, Nassau County Health Indicators by Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2011, http://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/community/minority/county/index.htm

In order to understand the reasons suburban areas like Nassau County have such stark differences among neighborhoods, there is an important concept that needs to be understood: the relationship between place and health. Researchers have identified that the environment in which people live plays a significant role in their health and well-being. Access to health care (Kirby and Kaneda, 2005), exposure to environmental hazards (Brown, 1994; Pais et al., 2014), higher rates of diabetes (Gaskin et al., 2013) and stroke (Brown et al., 2007; Balamurugan et al., 2013), and even shorter life expectancy (Geronimus et al., 1996; Davids et al., 2014) can be predicted, in part, by where people live. These neighborhood effects can profoundly influence the trajectory of health over a lifetime (Menec et al., 2010). Unequal distribution of physical activity resources in high-minority communities is associated with higher BMI (Carroll-Scott et al., 2013). Lower income neighborhoods also have fewer healthy food choices for children (Galvez et al., 2009; Larson et al., 2009; Norman et al., 2010). Neighborhoods with unsafe surroundings increase the likelihood of children being obese or overweight (Singh et al., 2010).


Hofstra HORIZONS t Spring 2015

The growing significance of the association between where we live and our health outcomes can be summarized by a phrase promoted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “Your ZIP Code May Be More Important to Your Health Than Your Genetic Code.”

ZIP codes matter in a suburb like Nassau County, which is one of the most racially segregated areas in the United States (Logan & Stults, 2011). Logan and Stults used an index that measures the integration of the 50 largest minority communities on a scale from 0 to 100, with any number 60 or higher considered very segregated. The study found that the segregation between whites and blacks on Long Island is 74.1, according to tract estimates from 2005 to 2009 from the Census Bureau American Community Survey. That number is up from 73.6 in 2000. Well over a century of racial segregation in Nassau County through land-use planning, restrictive housing covenants, and red lining and block busting by the real estate industry has inscribed residential segregation into the county’s culture. Today those who are black non-Hispanic live in just a few ZIP codes, concentrated in spaces that are separate from whites. This rigid segregation locks African American and Hispanic children into low-performing school districts: more than half of African American and Hispanic children are concentrated in just 13 of Long Island’s 124 school districts, and nine of the 10 Long Island school districts with poverty levels greater than 40 percent (measured by the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches)

have 60 percent or more students who are African American or Hispanic (Hartigan, 2002). What does this have to do with health? Residential segregation is considered a “fundamental cause” of racial health disparities (Williams & Collins, 2001). In part this is due to fewer resources for healthy lifestyles, but minority neighborhoods also often have fewer businesses, fewer services, higher unemployment, worse performing schools, and inadequate transportation, and are more isolated than white neighborhoods. Segregated black neighborhoods have been found to have two to three times as many fast food outlets and up to three times fewer supermarkets, and are three times as likely to lack recreational facilities as comparable white neighborhoods (Landrine & Corral, 2009). Conditions linked to segregation can constrain the practice of health behaviors and encourage unhealthy ones. Place does matter – the deliberate spatial concentration of poverty and race has led to persistent problems in Nassau County. So what do we do about it? To begin, we must acknowledge and explain the relationship between place and the geographical distribution of health disparities.

Telling Stories, Connecting the Dots This story of the hidden health disparities in the suburbs and the complex causes has intrigued me since I moved to Long Island from New York City four years ago. As a public health professional and a sociologist, I was trained to observe my surroundings and how structural systems within society influence communities. Looking at the suburbs through a sociological and public health lens, I realized that I was


seeing the consequences of residential segregation show up in the poor health outcomes of residents in communities of color on Long Island. However, as a researcher, I was stuck on where to start. There was so much to know, so many unanswered questions and such a great need to do something. I began with the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, so that I could better understand the background and context of the suburbs.

Let’s Move Roosevelt! Since 2012, the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University and NuHealth (Nassau County’s public health system), in collaboration with the Roosevelt Union Free School District, established a community-based model to address the issue of pediatric obesity. After registering with the national Let’s Move! initiative that first lady Michelle Obama established, we partnered to sponsor health fairs and create healthy eating and physical activity events open to the community, and we collaborated on school wellness policy changes and educated students in the classroom. In addition, we collected data to assess the scope of the problem of childhood obesity. We measured height and weight and calculated the Body Mass Index (BMI) of Roosevelt Middle School students. The BMI data in 2013 showed that 57 percent of sixth grade students were overweight or obese, with prevalence of 26 percent and 31 percent, respectively, as compared to national prevalence of 17 percent and 15 percent, and NYC prevalence of 21 percent and 22 percent in this age group. Through surveys, we found that desire to lose weight and poor diet and exercise behaviors were more prevalent in the obese and overweight groups than the normal weight groups and were statistically significant. Many students are taking unhealthy steps to try to lose

Percent of students screened who were overweight and obese by CDC BMI criteria 35 31%




New York City 23% Obese

20 15

Nassau County 18.9% Obese


BMI 85-94 overweight BMI>95 obese

5 0

2011 2012 2013 Measured Body Mass Index of Roosevelt Middle School students, 2011-2013

weight (i.e., fasting and skipping breakfast). Most students watch more television than recommended and do not participate in team sports. We have used these data to target changes within the school and larger community and have established a trusting and productive working relationship throughout. My next step was to make a decision to start this research on the ground floor by understanding the lived experiences of the health consequences of residential segregation. Photos, maps and people’s individual stories are a particularly effective tool that can be used to create understanding, communicate the issues to other people in suburban communities, and make us feel that we are all in this together. I want us to use research as a tool for social change, and I want the change to be long lasting. Here is a description of some of the approaches I have taken and what we have found:

Photovoice The first research I conducted was Photovoice projects with youth in communities of color in Nassau County. Photovoice is a participatory research method in which community members take photographs to record and reflect on their community’s strengths and

concerns, promote critical dialogue and knowledge about important issues through group discussion of photographs, and reach policy makers (Wang and Burris, 1997). Over the last three summers, I have worked with youth in Roosevelt, New Cassel and Uniondale to visually explore where they live and how their environment may affect their health. In Roosevelt, the Photovoice project identified through photographs the link between built environment and nutrition, and physical activity and childhood obesity, and ultimately reached policy makers with its assessments. One of the factors that contributed to the success of the project was involving the local youth in actively collecting and analyzing data about their community. Additionally, engaging the youth in conversations in which they critically assessed the built environment in Roosevelt and visually identified elements in the environment that benefited their health and those that were barriers to improved nutrition and physical activity was a powerful way for them to understand why suburban communities of color have much higher rates of childhood obesity than nearby white communities (see image on page 8). Hofstra HORIZONS t Spring 2015




“ They [the delis] all serve the same thing, they don’t serve anything fresh, like vegetables and fruit. There is really not any other stores in the area. They got a premium.”

There were also unexpected findings that resulted from the Photovoice project in Roosevelt. One photo from the Photovoice project identified a known hazardous waste site – a former industrial laundry where a student’s mother used to work – as a community health concern. This photograph and the corresponding comments led to further investigation about the status of the site (originally thought to be a brownfield, but later identified as a Superfund site that was contaminating air and groundwater) by community-based organizations involved in the Photovoice project, as well as a graduate student in public health who worked on the project and grew up in Roosevelt. Based on the Photovoice project’s findings over the following year, we conducted focus groups (in partnership with Choice for All, a community-based organization) with community members. Also, community presentations were held with county and state environmental officials, the owner of the contaminated property, and regional environmental justice organizations. The research stimulated the establishment of the Roosevelt Environmental Justice Coalition – composed of community residents, community-based organizations, a local university, faith-based institutions, and the North Shore-LIJ Health System. The coalition has since applied for federal 8

Hofstra HORIZONS t Spring 2015

funding for community advocacy and capacity building.

Digital Narratives Digital storytelling is a participatory ethnographic method useful in understanding people’s stories and sparking conversation. Participants create 3- to 5-minute visual narratives that synthesize images, video, audio recordings and text to create compelling stories (Lambert, 2012). Digital storytelling has been identified as an emergent method for health promotion research and practice (Gubrium, 2009); it can be used as a community development strategy (Marcuss, 2003). Digital narratives humanize health disparities often presented as statistics in public health and can be used as a tool for advocacy. I am implementing surveys to assess the effectiveness of these digital narratives to inform about health disparities in the suburbs; preliminary findings indicate that they are useful in changing viewers’ perceptions and knowledge. Working with students and community members, I have created a series of digital narratives and have placed them on a map of Nassau County, along with discussion guides to understand the context of the issues raised in the videos and questions to consider. These materials appear online at www.phxli.com (Public Health Exchange Long Island); visitors to the site are welcome to submit their own stories of health inequity on Long Island.

Next Steps for Suburban Health Equity The segregation of communities in Nassau County by race and class have created separate spheres where people living a mile away will attend different schools, play on different sports teams, attend different worship services, and shop in different stores. These patterns

are not new, and these suburban contrasts resemble New York City. Whether it is the Upper East Side and East Harlem, or St. Albans and Forest Hills, social observers understand that this difference is fundamental to any great city. But when these differences occur in suburban areas like the Village of Hempstead and Garden City, there is less interest both from those within the suburban communities and from those outside of them. Health inequities in the suburbs contradict the typical image of healthy and wealthy suburban spaces, and the real impacts of residential segregation on health outcomes in the suburbs are hidden from view in order to maintain the positive perceptions of suburban settings. This is not just a local problem, unique to Nassau County and New York City. With over half of residents in the United States living in suburban areas, the growth of poverty in the suburbs and changing demographics, including larger immigrant populations and an increase in elderly residents, the health inequity by race/ethnicity is likely to present itself across different populations in suburbs across the country. The events in Ferguson last summer demonstrate that suburban areas such as Nassau County cannot sustain separation and its consequences for much longer. It is too expensive and no longer the reality, or the dream, in the 21st century.

References Balamurugan, A., Delongchamp, R., Bates, J. H., & Mehta, J. L. (2013). The neighborhood where you live is a risk factor for stroke. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 6(6), 668-673. Brown, A. F., Liang, L. J., Vassar, S. D., Merkin, S. S., Longstreth, W. T., Ovbiagele, B., Yan, T., & Escarce, J. J. (2007). Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and mortality after stroke. Neurology, 80(6), 520-527.


Brown, P. (1994). Race, class, and environmental health: A review and systematization of the literature. Environmental Research, 69(1), 15-30. Carroll-Scott, A., Gilstad-Hayden, K., Rosenthal, L., Peters, S. M., McCaslin, C., Joyce, R., & Ickovics, J. R. (2013). Disentangling neighborhood contextual associations with child body mass index, diet, and physical activity: The role of built, socioeconomic, and social environments. Social Science & Medicine, 95, 106-114. Davids, B. O., Hutchins, S. S., Jones, C. P., & Hood, J. R. (2014). Disparities in life expectancy across US counties linked to county social factors, 2009 Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI). Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 1(1), 2-10. Galvez, M. P., Hong L., Choi, E., Liao, L., Godbold, J., & Brenner, B. (2009). Childhood obesity and neighborhood food-store availability in an inner-city community. Academic Pediatrics, 9(5), 339-343. Gaskin, D. J., Thorpe, R. J., McGinty, E. E., Bower, K., Rohde, C., Young, J. H., Laveist, T. A., & Dubay, L. (2013). Disparities in diabetes: The nexus of race, poverty, and place. American Journal of Public Health, pp. e1-e9. Geronimus, A. T., Bound, J., Waidmann, T. A., Hillemeier, M. M., & Burns, P.B. (1996). Excess mortality among blacks and whites in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 335(21), 1552-1558.

Gubrium, A. (2009). Digital storytelling: An emergent method for health promotion research and practice. Health Promotion Practice, 10(2), 186. Hartigan, S. (2002). Racism and the Opportunity Divide on Long Island. Institute on Race and Poverty. Accessed November 10, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.eraseracismny.org/storage/ documents/education/IRP_Full_Report_ with_Maps.pdf Kirby, J. B., & Kaneda, T. (2005). Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and access to health care. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46(1), 15-31. Kneebone, E., & Berube, A. (2013). Confronting suburban poverty in America. Brookings Institution Press. Landrine, H., & Corral, I. (2009). Separate and unequal: Residential segregation and black health disparities. Ethnicity & Disease, 19(2), 179. Lambert, J. (2012). Digital storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community. Routledge, 4th edition. Larson, N. I., Story, M. T., & Nelson, M. C. (2009). Neighborhood environments: Disparities in access to healthy foods in the US. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(1), 74-81. Logan, J. R., & Stults, B. J. (2011). The persistence of segregation in the metropolis: New findings from the 2010 Census. Census brief prepared for Project US2010. Accessed April 1, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.s4.brown. edu/us2010/Data/Report/report2.pdf Marcuss, M. (2003, fall). The new community anthology: Digital storytelling

as a community development strategy. Communities and Banking, 9-13. Menec, V. H., Shooshtari, S., Nowicki, S., & Fournier, S. (2010). Does the relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic status and health outcomes persist into very old age? A population-based study. Journal of Aging and Health, 22(1), 27-47. New York State Department of Health, Nassau County Health Indicators by Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2011. Retrieved from http://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/ community/minority/county/index.htm Norman, G. J., Adams, M. A., Kerr, J., Ryan, S., Frank, L. D., & Roesch, S. C. (2010). A latent profile analysis of neighborhood recreation environments in relation to adolescent physical activity, sedentary time, and obesity. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 16(5), 411-419. Pais, J., Crowder, K., & Downey, L. (2014), Unequal trajectories: Racial and class differences in residential exposure to industrial hazard. Social Forces, 92(3), 1189-1215. Singh, G. K., Siahpush, M., & Kogan, M. D. (2010). Rising social inequalities in US childhood obesity, 2003-2007. Annals of Epidemiology, 20(1), 40-52. Wang, C. C., & Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education & Behavior, 24(3), 369-387. Williams, D. R., & Collins, C. (2001). Racial residential segregation: A fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Public Health Reports, 116(5), 404.

Martine Hackett, PhD, MPH, is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Professions at Hofstra University. Her research interests include maternal child health, health equity, suburban public health and community-based research. She is the author of the book Back to Sleep: Creation, Conflict and Consequences of a Public Health Campaign. She previously served as a deputy director at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health and was also a television producer. Dr. Hackett earned a BFA in film and television from New York University, an MPH from Hunter College, and a PhD in sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center. She lives in Uniondale, Long Island, New York, with her husband and two sons.

Hofstra HORIZONS t Spring 2015


Building the Dream: The Center for STEM Research at Hofstra University M. David Burghardt, PhD, PE, Professor of Engineering and Co-Director of the Center for STEM Research, Hofstra University New Beginnings and a Chance to Dream


arrived at Hofstra University in the fall of 1983 as professor and chair of the Engineering Department, a decision that turned out to be life changing for me, though I didn’t know it at the time. I had made a vertiginous leap from a secure, tenured position at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to the vibrant, untenured world of Hofstra, made a little more dizzying by the fact that I was the very recently minted father of twin girls, just 9 months old. Still, I had no way to know about the far-reaching research dreams that would develop and find fulfillment here.


Hofstra HORIZONS t Spring 2015

In addition to teaching and chairing the Engineering Department, I continued writing engineering textbooks when I came to Hofstra – there are 12 titles at this point, many still widely used in classrooms throughout the United States – and pursued my research interest in applied thermodynamics; however, I sensed that more was possible. In 1990 I created the Center for Technological Literacy, manifesting a dream I had long held to help children and teachers become better prepared for our technological world. This dream, encouraged by Provost Herman Berliner and then-President

James M. Shuart, enabled me, at first, to create and host a magnetic levitation contest at Hofstra, which was attended by close to 400 middle school students from across Long Island. I did not do this alone, of course, but worked in collaboration with colleagues, this time at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where maglev – a system of powering trains in which magnetism both lifts and propels them – was created. I have always honored the philosophy of Charles Darwin, who said, “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too), those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have


prevailed.” In addition to working with Brookhaven, we were supported by funds raised from industry, business and Hofstra alumni. We held the event at Hofstra USA for several years, with engineering students acting as facilitators and assisting the judges and the student teams. Simultaneously in 1990, I was elected mayor of the Village of Kensington in Great Neck, which provided me with an opportunity to participate in municipal governance in a leadership role and concurrently learn about collaboration on a community level. I was re-elected four times, serving for a total of 10 years. Both this experience and my work with maglev taught me skills that would serve me well in my future research endeavors, and encourage me to dream even bigger. Thus the Center for Technological Literacy began to transform into the Center for STEM Research, with an expanding research agenda that gripped my imagination.

Banking on Collaboration and Innovation Starting in 1993 and continuing to this day, the Center for STEM Research has had continuous funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), now adding up to a total of $35 million, unprecedented at Hofstra. The success of the Center is in no small part due to the creativity and dedication of the people I work with there, especially my colleague and current co-director, Michael Hacker. Mr. Hacker was serving as the New York state supervisor for technology education when we began to work together in 1993; through the projects we created together, we developed a dynamic partnership, and he joined me as co-director of the Center in 2000. As the work of the Center expanded, Lois Miceli, STEM project coordinator,

joined our staff in 1997 and has been an integral part of every project since then. Engineering is the “E” in STEM, and from my experience I knew that engineering education was a system of interconnected learning. My goal was to help students make better sense of mathematics and science, and to learn to use this knowledge to create solutions to improve the human-made world. The thrust of all the research I have done over the past 20 years has this sense of engineering at its heart. The Center’s first major project was the NSF-funded NYSTEN (New York State Technology Education Network), which created teams of math, science and technology education teachers from across New York state to learn to use engineering design in their classrooms. In the process, the school-based teams collaborated with one another, which served to break down disciplinary boundaries and enabled them to combine the best from each field. Our project hosted 90 teachers at Hofstra for four weeks in the summer, with workshops taking place day and evening. Kate and Willy’s was a popular gathering spot! Many of the teachers went on to become leaders in their fields, ultimately heading New York state teacher organizations in the fields of math, science and technology.

Engineering is the “E” in STEM ... My goal was to help students make better sense of mathematics and science, and to learn to use this knowledge to create solutions to improve the human-made world. The thrust of all the research I have done over the past 20 years has this sense of engineering at its heart.

A Pivotal Project With Engineering Design at Its Heart The NSF-funded MSTe (Math, Science, Technology Elementary) project was a collaborative endeavor with Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory and involved

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At Hofstra, we involved teams of STEM faculty – drawing from the disciplines of science, mathematics and engineering – to work year-round with the STEM teacher teams, and both teachers and students reaped the benefits.

teams of elementary school teachers from across New York state. The heart of the project was engineering design; it applied engineering design across the STEM fields as a pedagogical strategy to improve student learning. Dr. Janice Koch (professor emeritus) and Dr. Sharon Whitton were on the Hofstra University team, with

Dr. Jacqueline Grennon-Brooks (now on the Hofstra faculty) on the Stony Brook team. Many research papers grew out of this project, papers that detailed advancement in student performance and also teacher improvement, and Dr. Koch produced Science Stories, a textbook for elementary science education. Dr. Koch and I collaborated on creating the Hofstra University Master of Arts in Elementary STEM (then MST) program. But even more than that came out of this first collaborative project.

A New and Novel Concept: Children’s Engineering It was during this time period that I helped create and develop the field of children’s engineering. To apply these new ideas in the classroom, I created a foundational course for the Elementary STEM master’s degree program, which I continue to teach to this day. For most people, children’s engineering is a new concept, but it is not difficult to understand. It is very useful in the classroom, not as a separate discipline, but as a complementary one that provides the contextual learning so

Students receiving MA degrees in STEM (2003) with thesis advisors Dr. David Burghardt, Dr. Janice Koch, and Professor Eileen Simons


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important to children. Further, it provides principles and activities that coordinate with STEM curricula. For example, for children to design and fabricate a toy car, a model of a whale, or a terrarium, it is not necessary that they understand the principles of statics, dynamics and strength of materials; rather they need to be able to consider the constraints and specifications of the problem statement and employ their knowledge and creativity. In the analysis portion of the design process, the children reflect on their design’s performance, applying their knowledge of scientific principles and mathematical conceptualizations. Typically, engineering links most closely with the physical sciences, but the elementary program predominantly focuses on life and earth sciences and the human body; so teachers must interconnect not only with the physical sciences – e.g., electricity, magnetism and simple machines – but also with living things. They do so by designing models of ants and butterflies, homes for snails, everyday plants and animals. In creating the models, students need to understand and apply their knowledge of, say, the rain forest – its structure and the various plants and animals that live at its different levels. The design itself, for example, may require scaling a 150-foot tree down to 15 inches, or an anthropoid from 10 centimeters to 30. In addition to running these grant projects, I guided many teachers on their action research theses as they were completing the MA in STEM and taught them how to use engineering design principles and practices to help improve their students’ learning in math, science and language arts, all the while counseling them on how engineering design could be employed in the classroom to create a wide variety of successful learning outcomes.


I continue to be very active in the field of children’s engineering, now called K-12 engineering, and recently served on a National Academy of Engineering initiative that defined and disseminated its goals.

Creating a Transformative Project and Winning a New Grant As the field of STEM education matured, my experience with interconnected learning enabled the Center to win another NSF grant, this time for $11.5 million, the biggest grant Hofstra had ever achieved. We called this MSTP (Math, Science, Technology Education Partnership), and it proved to be a project with a large budget and even greater expectations. MSTP was a collaborative venture with Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory and 10 under-performing school districts. Our focus was improving middle school student performance in STEM, and, in many instances, we were able to move schools from substandard performance in mathematics to acceptable levels of achievement by their students. At Hofstra, we involved teams of STEM faculty – drawing from the disciplines of science, mathematics and engineering – to work year-round with the STEM teacher teams, and both teachers and students reaped the benefits. For example, by the end of the project, every single district in the program achieved acceptable performance levels for their students; teachers were collaborating within the schools; and Hofstra faculty had gained new pedagogical perspectives that they were able to apply in their own classrooms. From a research perspective, we developed a new model for highquality professional development and a

Hofstra and Stony Brook STEM faculty and school district teachers worked together in school-based MSTP teams.

great deal of data that helped us better understand what works and what doesn’t with regard to infusing mathematics into science and engineering technology education classes and developing reliable measures of student performance.

Diving Deeply into Interconnected Learning An NSF research project follow-on to the MSTP project, MiSP (Math Infusion in Science Project) enabled us to explore how to create rich and meaningful interconnected learning experiences in middle school science, to improve science learning, and to deepen math learning and performance. We worked with 10 districts on Long Island and in New York City, developing replacement science curricula that were rich in algebraic math content, content that aligned with science laboratory data analysis. Dr. Beverly Clendening of the Biology Department, co-principal investigator, took the lead in creating the activities and running workshops to show teachers how to use them in their classrooms. The teachers were

encouraged to see themselves as researchers, and the implementation of the units was very consistent across schools, all of which was verified by researcher visits during times of instruction. MiSP was a big data project, bringing us information from both comparison and experimental groups and from 30+ teachers. About 3,000 students were involved, and we assessed multiple forms of data gleaned from implementing six activities as well as from state standardized tests for each cohort. For the past 15 years, I have been collaborating with Dr. Deborah Hecht of the CUNY Center for Advanced Study in Education, who leads the evaluation and research efforts, and we are continuing to report on our findings. One of the questions we are in the process of answering is whether there is a benefit to interconnected learning beyond improvement in the content matter being studied. For example, since we infused math into science, we expected to find improvement in math

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From a research perspective, we developed a new model for high-quality professional development and a great deal of data that helped us better understand what works and what doesn’t with regard to infusing mathematics into science and engineering technology education classes ...

A digitally fabricated model building, created by students as part of the Gates Foundation project, which met the design challenge volume and surface area specifications


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and science understanding and performance on standardized test scores, and we did; 1 + 1 = 2. But we wondered if there was a way for us to measure changes in basic student perception of linking disciplines, in other words, interdisciplinary thinking beyond content: 1 + 1 > 2. We have discovered that the richness of interconnected learning relates to measuring the value of the inequality, and we will soon be publishing results demonstrating this finding. This evaluation requires sophisticated statistical analysis of multilayered, nuanced data, measures we have obtained as a result of this project.

Moving Children’s Engineering to the Fore: Gaining Gates Foundation Funding One day a professor at the University of Virginia, an expert in instructional technology, reached out to me to say she was seeking my children’s engineering expertise for a project she had in mind. This was the start of my productive journey to the Gates Foundation. I visited UVA and lectured about children’s engineering to faculty from the Schools of Engineering and Education. It was there that I met a new colleague, Dr. Jennie Chiu, with whom I have been collaborating ever since. We worked on designing an online learning environment, which we called WISEngineering, a concept we adapted from an existing online science platform used at the University of California, Berkeley. The initial call from Dr. Chiu at UVA related to using digital fabrication in the classroom, and the math activities we

created employed this fabrication technique along with computer design software readily understood by fifth graders, all embedded within an engineering design challenge. Soon after, Dr. Chiu, Dr. Hecht and I won a Gates Foundation grant to work with two middle schools in Paterson, New Jersey. The results were astoundingly positive, not only in regard to math improvement, but also in terms of social mediation. We analyzed why this might be, and found that children in these tough schools who did not talk to one another were, however, willing and able to collaborate on math-based engineering design projects. The Hofstra team included Dr. Xiang Fu, from Computer Science, and Donna Migdol, a math teacher from Oceanside, New York, who had worked with us on the MSTe project. Ms. Migdol is also an adjunct faculty member in the Hofstra School of Education. Dr. Fu assisted us with the online learning environment, as Ms. Migdol, Dr. Chiu and I worked on the curriculum, which Ms. Migdol then piloted with students from Oceanside. We also traveled frequently to Paterson to provide professional development for the teachers. One of the teachers from Paterson created a video for us, and it is available for viewing on the Center’s website. During this project, I became aware of the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson, which offers after-school programming to children in the Paterson schools and also provides services during the school day. Intrigued, I reached out to nearby Boys & Girls Clubs to see if together we might find a way to improve student learning in an informal setting, one that exists outside the classroom. I had an idea that this might be a way to reach more young learners, and I was excited to find a way to make it work.


And the Dream Continues In the children’s engineering class I was teaching at Hofstra that semester, I found out that one of the students worked at the local Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club, and this provided an introduction for me to Melissa Rhodes, executive director of the club. Ms. Rhodes welcomed my proposal to volunteer to develop and implement STEM activities with the children at the club. During summer camp at the club, the pizza box oven, great for making s’mores, was the hit activity, and Ms. Rhodes and I became part of a team seeking grant funding. During this time, I returned to Dr. Fu, who worked with me as I created the Boys and Girls Club activities, and he continuously adapted and refined the WISEngineering environment for our new idea. The idea worked. This summer we won a $2.5 million NSF grant to develop and implement engineering-based STEM activities for 25 Boys & Girls Clubs in the metropolitan New York area. The grant, which we call WGG (Wise Guys & Gals — Boys & Girls as WISEngineering STEM Learners), will enable us to work with over 6,000 middle school-aged children, gathering data about their learning in the WISEngineering online learning environment. Once again, this will be a collaborative effort. I am serving as the

principal investigator, while Dr. Fu, Ms. Rhodes, Dr. Margaret Hunter (associate professor of engineering at Hofstra), and Ken White (of Brookhaven Labs) are co-principal investigators. Dr. Hecht will lead the evaluation/research effort. WGG has many innovative projects and principles that will engage the target population, middle school-aged children. It will provide them with engineering design challenges that will be completed both virtually and physically. Each individual design challenge will require the application of engineering thinking and STEM knowledge linked to the Common Core Math Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. WGG will provide these activities through the WISEngineering online learning environment, which will guide the children through mini-challenges and present simulations to help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to complete their design challenges. Embedded multimedia links will provide real-world examples and help the children make community connections while also supporting additional learning. Further, an online design portfolio will be used to record and save work, and a Facebook-like sharing feature will allow for increased collaboration and group

work. The hands-on building and testing of the design will be seamlessly connected with this computer-based work as students record what they have learned and upload pictures of their design. It is important to note that WISEngineering is not a computer game, computer tutorial, or external tool, but rather an integrated, interactive, innovative online learning environment that expands the possible work that children can do during an informal STEM activity, connects the strengths of virtual design and physical modeling, and facilitates collaboration. The research team will study how a blended-learning environment using carefully coordinated hands-on and online activities can support informal STEM learning, employ specifically designed tests to analyze why particular activities are successful, and develop guidelines for the use of materials developed through the program. Just like our earlier project, MiSP, this is a big data project, and keystroke information will be recorded. It is our goal to make a significant contribution to the understanding of STEM learning in informal environments through this research project. And it is my hope to continue to dream big dreams at Hofstra and to find ways to make these dreams a reality.

M. David Burghardt, PhD, PE, is professor of engineering and co-director of the Center for STEM Research at Hofstra University. He graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with a BS in marine engineering and sailed in the Merchant Marine, traveling around the world as a student and then as an engineering officer. He later attended the University of Connecticut and earned a master’s degree and PhD in mechanical engineering there, then taught at the Academy for 12 years before joining the Hofstra faculty, where he served as chair of both the Engineering and Computer Science departments.

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Taming the MOOS:

Massive Online Open Seminars in Religion Phyllis Zagano, PhD,

Senior Research Associate-in-Residence and Adjunct Profesor of Religion, Hofstra University

Abstract Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have become popular in many fields of study, and a large conversation regarding their educative value is developing. Courses often carry credit, follow standard progressions of academic inquiry, and require both course work and assessment. The majority of these courses are in scientific and practical fields; very few touch on religion. The professional debate about the value of these courses continues, especially relative to the humanities and social sciences. The


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author here presents the results of an experimental noncredit Massive Online Open Seminar (MOOS) on a narrow body of knowledge within religious studies. The MOOS was not specifically designed to fit within a standard curriculum but rather was offered for the large numbers of persons worldwide interested in the topic. Approximately 300 persons from five continents registered for the seminar, with 292 remaining throughout, demonstrating that the relative success of specific online events can depend on the topic under investigation.

Introduction Hofstra has a robust online presence and offers many distance learning courses for credit, especially during summer months, and the Department of Religion occasionally contributes to these.1 The developing body of knowledge regarding online education argues both its benefits and its dangers. Some argue that online education has a place within the larger landscape of education,2 while others argue that the online process is a money-saving (and ultimately destructive) attempt to


automate education.3 There is ample research demonstrating that MOOCs serve the scientific and mathematical communities well, both because of the nature of the materials and ability of students to continue reviewing materials at liberty.4 Newer entries into the MOOC market include at least one course in introduction to world religions, although there are very few courses available in religion or theology.5 For understandable reasons, Hofstra University has not entered the Massive Online Open Course market, which in and of itself is a free service that sometimes offers credit. Without revenue to support such efforts, budgetary constraints (and perhaps common sense) militate against paying faculty and support staff to develop and teach a course for credit at no charge to the students. The creation of the MOOC is an expensive undertaking.6 However, there are applications for free online courses that stress neither budgetary nor faculty resources, while offering colleges and universities a wider online presence and a toehold in the MOOC world. These applications provide faculty the opportunity, under the umbrella of the university, to present the fruits of their research across geographical boundaries in a longer and more structured format than a one-off lecture, while coincidentally offering the university the opportunity to showcase faculty research. In fall 2013 I approached the dean of Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with what I believe eventually demonstrated a creative application of MOOC principles without the attendant considerations of course work for credit. The project offered me the opportunity to present my research in a relatively

lengthy structured format, but (as it was not for credit) without the attendant requirements for grading. The basic discussion: all faculty have specific academic specialties, discrete areas in which they are the admitted experts. It is nearly impossible, however, to fill a credit-bearing course on the history of and current discussion about the ordination of women as deacons in the Catholic Churches, which would entail tuition and faculty payment (in release time or as overload). Further, in my case, a discussion of the ordination of women as deacons in Catholic Churches, both historically and contemporaneously, in an introduction to Christianity course would be necessarily short. Yet the topic is of interest to many individuals who are willing to undertake a course of study online.

The backbone of any online course, indeed any course, is the syllabus. Here, the syllabus developed the objective of creating up to a graduate-level discussion of the history of women in diaconal ministry, through current discussions, to opportunities for the future.

With the support of the provost and dean, and with the designated support of the University’s Faculty Computing Services personnel, I began in January 2014 to prepare the MOOS for its proposed start date of June 9, 2014, to conclude July 8, 2014. By July 9, I had written thank-you notes to 10 Hofstra personnel, six scholars, and my two co-authors of the main seminar text. Also working on the project were my Hofstra research assistant and an undergraduate Federal Work-Study student. Hofstra University Faculty Computing Services personnel, my research assistant, and the work-study student were all on salary or paid for their work on the project. The two co-authors and six contributing scholars received no recompense.

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The Catholic Churches ordain women neither as deacons nor as priests.

BOOKS Ordination of Women to the Diaconate in the Eastern Churches: Essays by Cipriano Vagaggini, ed. Phyllis Zagano, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2013. Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future by Gary Macy, William T. Ditewig, Phyllis Zagano, Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2011.

Seminar Content Discussion about the ordination of women is widespread across many religions, and has been especially contentious within certain Christian denominations. The clear history of women ordained as deacons in Christianity supports many arguments that they can be so ordained again. Today, several denominations ordain women as deacons; some ordain women as priests. At least one of the many churches of Orthodoxy, the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, has contemporary history of women deacons, as does the Armenian Apostolic Church. None of the churches of Orthodoxy ordains women as priests.


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Leaving aside the discussion of women as priests, the seminar addressed women in the ordained diaconate using two texts: Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future, which discusses (1) the history of women in the diaconate (East and West); (2) the diaconate as it was restored as a permanent vocation after the Second Vatican Council; and (3) considerations of how the completely restored diaconate might function and how it might affect the Catholic Churches. The second text, Ordination of Women to the Diaconate in the Eastern Churches: Essays by Cipriano Vagaggini, includes English translations from the original Italian of two extremely important essays (one requested by Pope Paul VI) by a noted Eastern liturgist, and my introductory essay.

Seminar Structure and Development The backbone of any online course, indeed any course, is the syllabus. Here, the syllabus developed the objective of creating up to a graduate-level discussion of the history of women in diaconal ministry, through current discussions, to opportunities for the future. Preparations for the 30-day event, scheduled to open June 9, began in earnest six months in advance, in January 2014. As discussions progressed, the following questions arose as critical to the seminar content: (1) In the past: Who were the women deacons in the early church? Were they ordained? What did they do? Why did they disappear? (2) In the present: When was the diaconate rejuvenated, and why? Has there been consideration of women in the diaconate? (3) In the future: What are the obstacles to women in the diaconate? How can these challenges be addressed? What would it mean for women to be ordained?

MOOS Open Screen in Coursesites.com


The plan was to open each week’s Web pages at the beginning of the week and to offer suggested readings and lectures during each of the first four days of each week. Each day’s tasks represented approximately one hour’s work. Each Friday, the discussion board with a new question or questions was to open for three days, until the next week’s work was opened at the start of the next week. The pattern was to continue, following the four weeks of work and two days of summation and survey. Where possible, an instructor or teaching assistant would join in the discussion boards. Course books were available electronically or in print from various retailers and online suppliers. The following presenting tasks required attention prior to the opening of the seminar: (1) develop an annotated bibliography; (2) develop PowerPoint lectures and taped lectures for each section; (3) invite “cameo” comments from cognate scholars; (4) research and select other, previously recorded content; (5) register with Coursesites.com; and (6) advertise and manage registration. The seminar opened the afternoon of June 8 and “launched” with a live stream of my June 9 public lecture in South Pasadena, California.7 Each seminar week (five weeks in total) would be devoted to one topic: (1) introduction of the topic; (2) women deacons past; (3) the diaconate present; (4) women deacons future; and (5) two days of conclusions and survey. While all the work was asynchronous, previous online courses I have taught demonstrate that providing a day-to-day syllabus allows participants to pace themselves and aids the instructor or seminar leader in choosing and arranging materials.

The plan was to open each week’s Web pages at the beginning of the week and to offer suggested readings and lectures during each of the first four days of each week.

None of the presenting tasks proved easy, but the coordinated efforts of the Hofstra University Faculty Computing Services personnel, along with my principal research assistant and many others, provided excellent resources and support. Below are details of each presenting task. 1) Develop an annotated bibliography. I considered the bibliography the most difficult to prepare yet the most useful item to eventually load to the website. Since seminar participants were projected to come from various backgrounds and locations, many without direct access to major libraries, we prepared annotations in English for the majority of the approximately 120 entries, many of which first appeared in foreign languages and remain untranslated.8 The bibliography remains posted on my Hofstra Web pages under “Research Documents.”9 Since the University receives donations on my behalf, I also registered as an Amazon.com affiliate, and linked most of the bibliographic materials (in addition to course books) to that program.

2) Develop PowerPoint lectures and taped lectures for each section. My co-authors agreed to provide brief (20-minute) lectures on their sections, as well as PowerPoint lectures coordinated to their materials. Following the pattern we used while developing our joint book, first Gary Macy recorded a lecture and a PowerPoint presentation focusing on the history of women in the diaconate and the history of their ordination ceremonies. Then William T. Ditewig, having reviewed Dr. Macy’s work, prepared both a lecture and presentation on the diaconate today. Finally, I prepared my materials after reviewing those of Drs. Macy and Ditewig. 3) Invite “cameo” comments from cognate scholars. Coincidental with the preparation of the annotated bibliography and the presentations, and as each week’s proposed questions developed, I invited a number of cognate scholars to provide brief (six-minute) commentaries, either video or audio. Approximately half of those contacted, or a total of six scholars from the United States, Canada, and Australia, provided brief audio or video commentaries. 4) Research and select other, previously recorded content. To round out the week’s work, which moved from reading, to PowerPoint, to lecture, we researched previously recorded online materials and selected one each by Drs. Macy, Ditewig, and me, in addition to a few shorter items already posted on the Internet. 5) Register with Coursesites.com. While there are a number of providers, including OpenLearning, Class Central, edX, and Udacity, Coursesites is a Blackboard product and was recommended by Hofstra Faculty Computing Services because of my

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materials, eventually I opened the discussion board with a new question nearly coincidental to the opening of the given week’s materials, allowing for longer and deeper discussion of each week’s work. While I presented the guiding questions for the seminar week, any of the three teaching assistants and any seminar member could (and did) introduce new threads, creating ongoing substantive discussion over nearly 30 days, including weekends. Discussion board comments ranged from brief insights, interjections, or questions to 1,500-word essays and responses to discussion of the topic at hand. MOOS Opening Lecture, live streamed from South Pasadena, CA.

familiarity with Blackboard.10 The Coursesites edition used for this seminar has since been updated, perhaps alleviating the various difficulties experienced with registration, uploading materials, and managing the discussion boards. 6) Advertise and manage registration. Various online blogs and journals announced the seminar, and the Catholic groups Voice of the Faithful, FutureChurch, and Call to Action directly alerted their members to the registration period, which ran from April 21 through June 10, the second day of the seminar. At least one angry blogger opposed to the open discussion recommended his followers register for the event in an apparent attempt at overloading it. The attempt caused me to close open, automatic registration and accept the final registrants only after they responded to queries regarding their interest. The disruption took the better part of a day when I was flying cross country, and involved Hofstra’s Faculty Computing Services personnel.11


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Seminar The seminar itself opened Sunday, June 8, at 4 p.m. Pacific Daylight Saving Time, to accommodate participants in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Europe, where dawn would be breaking well before 8 a.m. June 9 in the United States. I followed this pattern throughout the seminar, opening each section by at least 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time on Sundays. Student use of the materials could be tracked with Coursesites software, and it appeared that significant numbers of students preferred to run through the readings and lectures in one day, although others (perhaps those with work commitments) kept pace with the syllabus. While the syllabus was designed to maintain discussion on one topic for three or four days and then close, it turned out that participants preferred ongoing discussion boards. Therefore, while the first board opened on the Thursday of the first week, with questions coordinated with the seminar

With an average of 300 registrants to start, and three teaching assistants plus myself, I used Coursesites software to randomly assign participants to one of four discussion groups. While a seminar of 75 persons is daunting for anyone, in each case slightly more than half the number of registrants participated in the discussion boards at any given time, although overall “attendance” (as indicated by Coursesites-generated reports) was greater than 50 percent and, in many cases, as high as 75 percent. While discussion board participation eventually dropped as low as 25 percent, a significant number of “lurkers” — at times 50 percent of registrants — remained. Along with the three teaching assistants, I routinely checked my assigned discussion board three times per day. The work-study student was asked to monitor all the discussion boards daily and to alert me and the discussion board teaching assistants of any major difficulties. The decision to randomly assign participants to discussion board groups overtook an original plan to geographically divide them according to the regional groupings of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 15


regions, and also overtook plans to include French- and Italian-language sections. Groups were originally projected to be smaller, perhaps 20 or 25 persons, allowing for use of Zoom.us meeting software for live discussions. The number of registrants soon made it clear that such a plan, requiring 12-15 discussion board sections, would be unwieldy, given that the seminar had just one leader and three teaching assistants. The random assignment of participants to one of the four discussion boards actually worked out well in a different way. Seminar participants later reported the advantages of conversing with persons from around the world — an individual from Alaska, for example, found common ground with someone from Ireland; and an individual from New Zealand entered into discussion with someone from Atlanta, Georgia. The usual online “ice-breakers” were not used directly; individuals were at first asked to introduce themselves briefly, tell of their location and work, perhaps their training, and why they were interested in the topic. Because of the large numbers involved in the discussion board, participants were also asked to briefly identify themselves at the start of each of their comments, for example, “Mary, pastoral minister, New Zealand.” The substantive nature of many of the interventions and subsequent discussions belied the common belief that “content” materials could not be adapted to online events. While such does not and cannot replace the classroom experience, in this instance the exigencies of time and space collaborated to make classroom engagement impossible and online engagement quite possible. Some — perhaps many — of the participants

The heat map above was generated from captured IP addresses of registrants and represents the following numbers of participants: Australia 14, Belgium 1, Canada 10, Chile 1, China 4, France 1, Ireland 7, Italy 5, Mexico 3, New Zealand 2, Norway 1, South Africa 1, United Kingdom 8, United States 234.

MOOS Discussion Questions

were not familiar with online work and certainly not with discussion boards, but with few exceptions the conversations did not devolve to the level of Facebook or chatroom irrelevancies. As technology and its uses expand, one can only predict that more, not fewer, persons will become

adept at the techniques of online learning.

Survey Results Comments and questions throughout the seminar, where they digressed from the materials at hand, mostly had to do with the site itself, typically various software

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As technology and its uses expand, one can only predict that more, not fewer, persons will become adept at the techniques of online learning.

problems and difficulties viewing videos. Coursesites apparently operates best through the Web browser Google Chrome. Some participants initially did not have either proper software or powerful enough connectivity to view videos, suggesting that, alternatively, audio tracks of the videos might also be loaded to the site. Some retained inability to log in, and an additional few could not manage the systems and simply gave up. Here it should be noted that the individuals participating in the seminar were not initially coming to it because it was online, but rather because it was on the topic of women in ministry. Many expressed the desire to learn more, which, combined with their lack of access to such study and discussion, led to their trying out an online event for the first time. The final days of the seminar included a wrap-up lecture, a segment of a previously recorded radio interview program that summed up the discussion, an article and attendant podcast that also summarized the discussion, and a request to participate in a 23-question survey.


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The survey instrument was developed along the lines of other survey instruments used for Hofstra and other institutions’ online courses, and left significant space for general thoughts and suggestions. Within the 63 completed surveys, participants wrote 13,000 words of comments in addition to answering the 19 multiple choice questions and four open-ended essay questions. The survey itself was at first inadvertently set so that participants could not return to change or complete their answers, and so its results are both skewed and incomplete because some participants did not return to work the survey after the setting was changed, and some were only able to complete part of the survey. Even so, 87.3 percent of respondents reported their knowledge of the subject increased, the majority reporting “increased greatly,” while 7.9 percent reported a “slight” or “somewhat” increased knowledge in the topic, with other insignificant percentages of “no response” reported, most probably the result of initial difficulties with the instrument. Overall responses to the multiple choice questions were positive. The responses from approximately 23 percent of the initial registrants, or 66 percent of those who completed the seminar, demonstrated strong appreciation for the major lecturers (Drs. Macy, Ditewig, and Zagano) as well as for the “cameo” comments. The majority of the responses regarding the lecture presentations were that these were either “mostly clear” or “always clear.” The distinction may be attached to whether participants viewed the lectures or commentaries before or after completing the attendant readings. A greater percentage (90.5 percent) found

the Women Deacons text useful or very useful than did the Vagaggini text (77.7 percent). Regarding the optional additional readings, 79.4 percent found them useful or very useful. A total of 76.2 percent of the respondents said they read each book completely, while 73 percent reported watching all of the presentations, with the large majority (77.8 percent) reporting that the lecturers and commentators demonstrated an “outstanding” mastery of the subject matter, and 15.9 percent judged the presenters’ mastery as “very good.” Responses to the question “I participated in the discussion boards,” even though answered by a smaller percentage of participants, echoed the seminar’s overall participation rate, with 17.5 percent reporting “no participation,” 55.6 percent reporting “some participation,” and 22.2 percent reporting “a lot of participation.” (Discussion board participation dropped off as the seminar progressed, although it continued to be strong throughout.) Nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents thought the discussion board interaction was either “very good” or “outstanding,” while a third reported it to be average, and a small percentage (7.8 percent) found it to be “poor” or “not good.” As for the educational level of the participants, 3.2 percent reported only some college, while the rest who answered the question reported baccalaureate (12.7 percent), master’s (54 percent), doctoral or professional (25.4 percent) education. The high percentage of postbaccalaureate participation seems indicative of the levels of interest in the specialized subject matter among persons who have completed other types of formal education in religion and theology.


Age ranges of survey respondents under 25: 0% 25-39: 4.8% 40-54: 15.9% 55-64: 36.6% 65-75: 28.6% over 75: 9.5%

While the responses were not otherwise broken down as to Eastern or Western Catholic Church members, 92 percent of the respondents reported their religious membership as Catholic. Nearly 86 percent of the respondents reported they were female, a number that corresponds greatly with a hand count of the total registration. Similarly, 81 percent reported U.S. residency, with 8 percent from Europe and slightly more than 6 percent from Australia/New Zealand, again mirroring hand counts and the heat map of participants. The age ranges of the respondents is probably representative of the entire registration, with none reporting “under 25” and nearly 10 percent reporting “over 75,” with the majority of respondent ages between 40 and 75 (see box above).

Conclusions The argument that Massive Online Open Courses better fit the pattern and educational objectives of courses in the sciences, technology, and languages is a genuine one, and several of the difficulties of teaching a topic within religion that touched on history, literature, social sciences, church law, and theology well presented themselves, both in the creation of the seminar and

in its execution. One overlooked, and genuinely overwhelming, part of the seminar was the enthusiasm of many of the participants who read deeply and entered fully into discussion board conversations, some with graduate-level postings. The uneven preparation of the 292 participants showed somewhat, in that some eventually became nervous about posting or asking questions, given the apparent expertise of some of the participants. This is not to say that there was any bullying, although one woman was first barred from the discussion boards and eventually removed from the seminar for continually arguing against the seminar discussion itself, presenting her determination that the conversation and course materials were outside what she considered the boundaries of legitimate discussion.

the future availability of online seminar discussion boards in French, an early idea I had discarded due to the limited number of volunteer teaching assistants (two) and the one teaching assistant. I think the argument that online courses portend a commercialization of education is real, but that it does not apply here due to the parameters of the student body and the detailed nature of the topic. Even the research demonstrating that the ability to repeat lectures and demonstrations at will in scientific and mathematical applications of online learning serves to demonstrate in a larger way what I discovered to be true in this iteration of the MOOS. Because participants came from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds,

While even I entered the event with a certain amount of skepticism — I have found that completely online teaching of, for example, my course “Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest” is difficult and, to my mind, lacking — I was genuinely surprised by the depth and attention to detail, as well as the liveliness of the discussions, among the participants. Many wrote, either in the essay portion of their survey responses or in private emails directly to me, not only that they enjoyed the event, but also that they hoped it would run again. Some asked for

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Lecturers and Professionals Sara Butler, MSBT, PhD, Professor Emerita, University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL Paul Carson, Instructional Designer, Hofstra University Ron Chalmers, Executive Director of Online Learning, Hofstra University John N. Collins, PhD, Lector Emeritus, Yarra Theological Union, Australia William T. Ditewig, PhD, Director, Office of the Diaconate, Diocese of Monterey, California, and Dean’s Executive Professor, Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, Santa Clara University, California Dennis Doyle, PhD, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton, Ohio Mary Freeman, Teaching Assistant, Rhode Island Carmela Leonforte-Plimack, PhD, Research Assistant, Hofstra University Gary Macy, PhD, John Nobili, S.J. Professor of Theology, Department Chair, Director of Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, Santa Clara University, California Alexander Mitchell, Student Assistant, Hofstra University Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, PhD, Archivist for the Society of the Sacred Heart, US-Canada Province, St. Louis, Missouri, and Charles Fischer Professor of New Testament Emerita, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas Amanda Quantz, PhD, Pastoral Ministry Program Director and Assistant Professor of Theology, University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, Kansas Susan Roll, PhD, Associate Professor of Liturgy and Sacramental Theology, University of St. Paul, Ottawa, Canada Anne Southwood, Teaching Assistant, Massachusetts Alexander Smiros, Instructional Designer, Hofstra University Jackson Snellings, Instructional Designer, Hofstra University Judith Tabron, PhD, Director of Faculty and Student Computing Services, Hofstra University David Woolwine, PhD, Associate Professor of Library Services and Reference Librarian, Hofstra University Monica Yatsyla, Manager of Instructional Design Services, Hofstra University Phyllis Zagano, PhD, Senior Research Associate-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor of Religion, Hofstra University Joseph Zona, Instructional Technologist, Hofstra University Student Assistants at Faculty Computing Services, Hofstra University


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the ability to replay materials at will was helpful to those who needed to catch up, either because of linguistic or content barriers to the topics at hand within the seminar. In general, the MOOS exceeded my expectations, in that it demonstrated to me and others involved in specialized research in religion that technology does have an application in teaching theology and religion.

Footnotes 1 Distance

learning sections during AY 2013-14: Fall 2013, 79, Spring 2014, 69; January 2014, 32; Summer 2014, 104.

2 Fischer,

Gerhard. “Beyond Hype and Underestimation: Identifying Research Challenges for the Future of MOOCs,” Distance Education 35.2 (2014): 149-158.

3 Mirrlees,

Tanner, and Shahid Alvi. “Taylorizing Academia, Deskilling Professors and Automating Higher Education: The Recent Role of MOOCs,” Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS) 12.2 (2014): 45-73; Vardi, Moshe Y. “Will MOOCs Destroy Academia?” Communications of the ACM 55.11 (2012): 5.

4 Colvin,

Kimberly F., et al. “Learning in an Introductory Physics MOOC: All Cohorts Learn Equally, Including an On-Campus Class,” International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning 15.4 (2014): 263-282.

5 PR

Newswire. “First-ever HBCUcreated MOOC Offers Context for Understanding World Religions,” PR Newswire US 16 Sept. 2014. The Center for Excellence in Distance Learning (CEDL) at Wiley College announced a new MOOC developed by Dr. Keith Augustus Burton of CEDL member institution Oakwood University, “Understanding World Religions: An Occupational Approach.” Free open enrollment is through canvas.net.

Hofstra HORIZONS 6 Stanton,

Jeffrey M., and Suzan J. Harkness. “Got MOOC? Labor Costs for the Development and Delivery of an Open Online Course,” Information Resources Management Journal 27.2 (2014): 14-26.

7 My

South Pasadena hosts, staff at Holy Family Catholic Church, advise that 46 persons watched the live stream video, which was subsequently added both to their website and the MOOS and was viewed by most of the MOOS participants. Approximately 125 persons attended the evening lecture.

8 I have

a project underway to translate up to 200 pages of important theological essays from French, Italian, and German, to be included with some English-language essays in a single volume of writings on restoring women to the ordained diaconate.

9 http://people.hofstra.edu/phyllis_zagano/ 10 None

of these providers currently offers a course or courses in religion or theology.

11 The

neuralgic nature of some religious and theological discussion can militate against open registration, thereby defeating the principal point of MOOCs and MOOSs — free and open access to education and information.

Phyllis Zagano,PhD, is a senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra, where she has continued her research in the history of spirituality and the history of women in the church since 2002. A graduate of Marymount College, Tarrytown, New York, she holds a PhD from Stony Brook University and three master’s degrees. Among her 17 books are the award-winning Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church (Crossroad), and Women & Catholicism: Gender, Communion, and Authority (Palgrave-Macmillan). She has published hundreds of articles and reviews in a wide variety of journals, including the Journal of Communication and Religion, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Horizons, New Diaconal Review, Spiritus, and Theological Studies. Dr. Zagano occasionally writes for non-refereed journals, including Commonweal, The Irish Catholic (Dublin, Ireland) and The Tablet (London, UK), and is a regular columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. A former Fulbright Fellow to the Republic of Ireland, her biographical listings include Who’s Who in the East and Who’s Who in America. Her professional papers are held by the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University, Chicago. She is a well-known authority on spirituality and edited the best-selling text Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest (Paulist). She served as consultant to Martin Seligman’s Templeton Foundation Positive Psychology Project “Spirituality and Living Well“ at the University of Pennsylvania and delivers invited lectures around the world on women and religion. Among her courses are “Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest” and “History of Irish Spirituality.“

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Making Grateful Kids:

Saying “Thank You” Is Beyond Good Manners Jeffrey J. Froh, PsyD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Hofstra University


atthew, a 12-year-old middle school student who lives in a wealthy suburb, had a home life quite different from that of his peers: he and his mother had found themselves in a long-term shelter because of a financial crisis, and Matthew had to commute to school by public bus rather than the German imports his friends’ parents used to drop off their children. As winter approached, Matthew continued to come to school dressed in jeans and T-shirts with just a thin sweatshirt for covering, prompting one teacher, Mrs. Riebe, to give him a wool sports jacket from the donation bin at her church. It was a kind gesture, but a sixth grader wearing a sport jacket in a prosperous public school means one thing: a bully target. Matthew, however, wasn’t bullied, nor was he embarrassed about wearing an oversized jacket. Instead, he smiled from ear to ear. “Check out this cool jacket Mrs. Riebe gave me. I love it. I can’t stop thanking


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her,” he’d say to his friends and other teachers. His infectious positivity was so appealing that even other kids recognized and respected it. The circumstances in which Matthew lived might make many children feel envious, cheated, angry and resentful. Yet Matthew felt incredibly grateful to his teachers and friends because his mother, despite the constraints on her time and finances, had instilled a sense of gratitude in Matthew, and this had a profound effect on his approach to life. My colleagues and I collected nearly two thousand essays on what gratitude means to teens, Matthew’s essay among them. He wrote, “My life wouldn’t be the same without the people who’ve helped me succeed. I’m thankful to God and my family, friends, and even my teachers for helping me improve my life.” This story of an adolescent who lives below the material standards of most of

his peers and has to make much more of an effort to get to school and participate in extracurricular activities is a small but profound example of the impact that gratitude can have on a young person’s emotional well-being, relationships, spirituality and success. In fact, my experience working with at-risk children and adolescents supports this assumption. But Matthew is no ordinary kid because he has learned to harness a virtue that’s been long-revered, but historically underappreciated: gratitude.

The Beginning I met Matthew while working as a school psychologist. Seeing him smile from ear to ear while wearing a wool sport jacket intended for a much older gentleman is burned in my memory forever. It was a defining moment for me. How did Matthew become so grateful? Why isn’t he envious of the other kids wearing designer labels? Does he even realize that his new jacket


is totally uncool? My quest for understanding gratitude development in youth began in that hallway. After reviewing the psychological literature on gratitude in kids, I found noticeable holes that needed filling. One such hole was the lack of research on gratitude in the early stages of life. Until 2005, there were no studies that I knew of examining gratitude and well-being in children. Then, in 2006, psychology professors and researchers Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson conducted a content analysis of parents’ descriptions of children’s strengths, gratitude being one. They found that of the 24 strengths examined, gratitude had the strongest relation to life satisfaction. Witnessing gratitude’s power in the children and adolescents I worked with and counseled, coupled with this latest finding, I decided to commit myself to a research program looking to understand the measurement, development, and enhancement of gratitude in youth.

My Past Research: Gratitude Interventions for Youth Perhaps the most commonly used technique for boosting gratitude — among adults and youth alike — is a gratitude journal. For my first study on gratitude in kids, I asked middle school students simply to list five things for which there were grateful daily for two weeks, and I compared these students to others who were writing about hassles in their life or basic daily life events. Keeping a gratitude journal was related to more optimism and life satisfaction and to fewer physical complaints and negative emotions. Most significantly, compared to the other students, students who kept a gratitude journal reported more satisfaction with their school experience (i.e., find school interesting, feel good at school, think they are

learning a lot, and are eager to go to school) immediately after the two-week period, a result that held up even three weeks later (see Figure 1). Expressions of school satisfaction included: “I am thankful for school,” “I am thankful for my education,” and “I am thankful that my school has a track team and that I got accepted into the honor society.” School satisfaction is positively related to academic and social success. Many early and late adolescents, however, indicate significant amounts of dissatisfaction with their school experience. Therefore, inducing gratitude in students via keeping a gratitude journal may be a viable intervention for mitigating negative views of school and academics while promoting positive views about school and academics. Holding such a positive view predisposes students to improving both their academic and social competence and may help motivate them to get the most out of school. Another exercise we’ve tested is the gratitude visit, in which students write a letter to someone who had helped them but whom they’d never properly thanked; the students read their letter to him or her in person, then later discuss their experience with others who also completed a gratitude visit. To illustrate, one 17-year-old girl wrote and read the following letter to her mother: “I would like to take this time to thank you for all that you do on a daily basis and have been doing my whole life. ... I am so thankful that I get to drive in with you [to school] every day and ... for all the work you do for our church. ... I thank you for being there whenever I need you. I thank you that when the world is against me that you stand up for me and you are my voice when I can’t speak for

Keeping a gratitude journal was related to more optimism and life satisfaction and to fewer physical complaints and negative emotions.

myself. I thank you for caring about my life and wanting to be involved ... for the words of encouragement and hugs of love that get me through every storm. I thank you for sitting through countless games in the cold and rain and still having the energy to make dinner and all the things you do. I thank you for raising me in a Christian home where I have learned who God was and how to serve him. ... I am so blessed to have you as my mommy and I have no idea what I would have done without you.” Findings from this research indicated that students who began the study low in positive emotions reported more gratitude and positive emotions immediately after the study, and greater positive emotions two months later, compared with students who didn’t do a gratitude visit. Building on this research, and research by colleagues, we have identified several key principles that adults can use to promote gratitude in kids — principles that we’ve incorporated into our own gratitude curriculum. This curriculum is intended to

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60 –

Figure 1

Figure 2

55 –


Wrote Thank-You Card

50 –

Gratitude Hassles Control


40 –



45 –


No Yes

35 – 30 – 25 – 20 –


10 –


5– 0–

4.6 Post-Test

3-Week Follow-Up

subtly instill grateful thinking in youth without requiring an explicit focus on gratitude. It emphasizes three key principles that can support a gratitude journal, a gratitude visit, or simply the practice of gratefulness in everyday life: Notice intentions. Try to encourage youth to appreciate the thought behind gifts they receive — to consider how someone noticed their need and acted on it. Research suggests this goes a long way toward cultivating “an attitude of gratitude” among children and adults alike. For kids in particular, knowing that others believe in them and their potential motivates self-improvement. To get children and adolescents to reflect on the intentions behind the gifts they receive, adults can prompt them with a question such as, “Can you think of a time when a friend (parent, teacher, or coach) noticed something you needed (e.g., lunch), or remembered something you care about (e.g., collecting feathers) and then provided you with those things?” As kids give examples, adults could have them elaborate: “How did you know they helped you on purpose?” “How did you feel after they helped you?” Appreciate costs. We also find it important to emphasize that when


Error bars: 95% Confidence Intervals

15 –

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Benefit Appraisal Attention-Control Experimental Condition

someone is helpful, that person usually sacrifices time or effort to provide the help. For example, adults could ask, “What are some things your friend gave up to help you with that project?” or say, “Wow, for your friend to come play tag with you, he had to stop playing soccer, which I know is his favorite game.” An adult could also point out “how nice it was for that child to let you use the computer instead.” Recognize the value of benefits. Adults can also foster gratitude by reminding youth that when others help us, they are providing us with “gifts.” This is one reason why, in our gratitude curriculum, we prompt children to focus on the personal value of the kind acts of others. One way adults can bring this up is to have kids complete the sentence stem “My day (or life) is better because ...” and give examples such as, “... my teacher helped me when I didn’t understand something,” or “... my coach showed me how to be a better basketball player.” Studies of our gratitude curriculum have found that children’s ability to think gratefully can be strengthened, and with this change comes improvements in their moods. A weekly version of the curriculum produced these effects up to

five months later. A daily version had immediate effects (two days later) and led children to write 80 percent more thank-you cards to their PTA (see Figure 2); even their teachers found them happier.

My Current Research: Gratitude and Delinquency After conducting these gratitude intervention studies and learning that children and adolescents can indeed become more grateful with deliberate effort, I became interested in gratitude’s effect on youths’ psychological and social well-being, as well as their academic success, via the natural development of gratitude. I therefore led a longitudinal study where we followed about 1,000 adolescents for four years, surveying them at multiple time points. While we found that adolescents who grew in gratitude over these four years were more likely to be happier, have supportive mentors, and develop a sense of meaning and purpose in life, we also found that growing in gratitude helped kids develop character. Specifically, teens that grew in gratitude over the four years were less likely to visit the principal’s office, bring alcohol or drugs to school, skip school, get


suspended from school, and get expelled from school. These teens were also less likely to be antisocial (e.g., hit and tease other kids) and more likely to be prosocial (e.g., help a kid with school work or include an excluded peer in play) four years later (see Figure 3). Further, teens that grew in gratitude also became less antisocial and more prosocial simultaneously throughout the four years. These findings are the first I know of showing that gratitude not only makes kids feel good, but also makes them do good.

The Culmination Seeing gratitude’s beneficial effect on the children and adolescents I work with inspired me to want to create a national dialogue about gratitude in youth. After accumulating a large amount of empirical evidence solidly supporting gratitude’s role in positive youth development, I decided that the next step was for me to write a trade book intended for public consumption, yet steeped enough in science to please even

the most hard-nosed empiricist. In March 2014 my book Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character (Templeton Press) was released. This book provides parents, teachers, and any adult who works with youth with 32 scientifically supported practical strategies for making kids grateful that can be used in daily interactions. Following these strategies, and with patience and persistence, we can significantly influence the children in our own personal worlds, and, if we do, that will influence programs, clubs, schools, and other institutions in the community too. So I ask you to accept my challenge, and

Figure 3

dedicate yourself to helping a child become more grateful. Our society needs this more than ever. Now’s the time.

Jeffrey Froh, PsyD, is an associate professor of psychology and has taught at Hofstra since 2006. He earned an MS and PsyD in school psychology from St. John’s University and a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College. Dr. Froh is a New York state-certified school psychologist, New York state-licensed psychologist, Associate Fellow of the Albert Ellis Institute, and past associate editor for The Journal of Positive Psychology. Before joining the Hofstra faculty, he taught at various colleges and practiced as a school psychologist in several school districts on Long Island. Dr. Froh is the co-author of Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character (Templeton Press, 2014) and the co-editor of Activities for Teaching Positive Psychology: A Guide for Instructors (American Psychological Association, 2013). In 2011 he received a three-year, $1 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to study the measurement, development, and enhancement of gratitude in children and adolescents. His research has appeared in mainstream media such as The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. In his spare time, Dr. Froh loves spending time with his wife, Cara, and children, James (8 years old) and Julianne (4 years old). Together, they appreciate the simple pleasures of playing at the beach, kayaking, walking, bike riding, and building snowmen. Dr. Froh also enjoys reading, weightlifting, gardening, and any activity that allows him to splash around in the beautiful waters surrounding Long Island.

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Hofstra Meets the Educational Needs of Young Children With Developmental Disabilities Stephen J. Hernandez, EdD, Co-Director, Hofstra Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (HECIS) program, Hofstra University Diane Schwartz, EdD, Professor of Special Education and Co-Director, HECIS program, Hofstra University


s longtime practitioners and academics in the field of early childhood special education, we have had the privilege of working with and educating hundreds of early childhood special educators. Our experience has also provided us with insight into the needs of the field, most notably those related to the increased incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in young children that has been emerging over the past few years. It was this ever-growing rise in the number of children with ASD that led the U.S. Department of Education to award $1.24 million to Hofstra University’s School of Education over five years to develop a new cadre of early childhood special education teachers who could serve the


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growing population of young children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

The Growth of Autism The process of securing the grant involved the submission of a proposal that would specify how we would use the awarded funds to educate as many highly skilled professionals as possible. The creation of that proposal involved delving into our collective knowledge and gathering relevant literature as well as data showing the growth in the number of children with autism among certain demographic groups in New York in general and particularly here on Long Island. We knew that the national percentage of children classified with

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is now estimated to be 1 in 50 children, with boys receiving the diagnosis 4 out of 5 times in comparison to girls (Centers for Disease Control, 2012). As a point of comparison, in 2012 the CDC reported the rate of autism was 1 in 88. When it comes to children with disabilities, the number of students with special needs ages 3-5 that were classified with ASD is now 6.9 percent of total enrollment in special education (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). What was surprising to us was the data from the CDC showing that the greatest increases in autism occurred among Hispanic and African American children. Such demographic trends are having a significant impact on the Long


Island and New York regions as a result of the enhanced diversity that has occurred in these communities. Specifically, per the 2010 Census, Nassau County has experienced a 46.6 percent growth in the Hispanic population while Suffolk County has seen a 64.8 percent growth. The African American community has an average growth rate in the Long Island region of 11.8 percent. In total, the Hispanic and African American community now represents 12.4 percent of the Long Island population and 16.75 percent of the population in New York City.

The Need for Early Childhood Special Educators We also found that in conjunction with the ever-rising incidence of autism, there is growing need for educators with the requisite skills to work with young children with disabilities. In particular, the U.S. Department of Labor (2009) projects a 21.6 percent growth in the need for special educators serving young children between now and 2020 as a result of increased growth in the identified need for special educators and the retirement of current personnel. Even more so, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009) estimated that over 113,000 new special educators will be needed to serve the estimated 8.0 percent growth in student enrollment for grades pre-K through 8 between now and 2020 (U.S. Department of Education, 2013).

Projections from the National Center for Educational Statistics (U.S. Department of Education, 2013) anticipate that trends in student enrollment will not change, resulting in the current percentage of students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B (13.2 percent) growing at a rate of 8.0 percent, resulting in an additional 410,000 children below the secondary level being served by 2021. At the state level, the New York State Department of Labor (2010) predicts over 1,600 openings on average per year requiring special educators at the pre-K, kindergarten and elementary grades. Regionally, the state predicts a 14.6-14.8 percent growth rate in the New York City and Long Island regions, with an average of 215 openings per year (New York State Department of Labor, 2012). Specifically, the National Center for Educational Statistics (U.S. Department of Education, 2011) notes an overall increase in enrollment by 80,000 for grades pre-K through 8 in New York state between 2010 and 2021, resulting in an additional 13,360 students served under IDEA.

The HECIS Program After securing the grant award of $1.24 million in July 2013, we immediately began the process of launching the Hofstra Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (HECIS) program. Hofstra’s School of Education will receive the grant funds over a five-year period in relatively equal installments of approximately $249,000. This grant will provide substantial tuition support to dozens of graduate students over the course of five years and will allow individuals who otherwise would not be able to pursue a graduate degree in special education to acquire the skills necessary to serve the growing population of young children with developmental delays and disabilities.

... t he national percentage of children classified with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is now estimated to be 1 in 50 children, with boys receiving the diagnosis 4 out of 5 times in comparison to girls.

Students, or “scholars” as they are called in the program, receive tuition remission for 18 credits through the grant and could receive further tuition remission for an additional 15 credits through other scholarships. Together, a total of 33 out of the 45 credits can be completed with full tuition remission. The mission of the HECIS program is to improve learning outcomes for young children with special needs and their families by increasing the number of graduates fully prepared to bring about improvements in educational and developmental services. These objectives build upon the goals of Hofstra’s Special Education program to provide the theoretical context for understanding disabling conditions, including a sound foundational understanding of developmental growth, models of inclusive education, and research-based methodologies designed to help all children reach their potential. The programs are designed to develop ethical scholar practitioners who will be capable of working with diverse populations in a variety of social and cultural contexts. Hofstra HORIZONS t Spring 2015



measurement, experimental design, fundamental elements of behavior change, and behavior-change systems, as well as client-centered responsibilities, including assessment and intervention strategies with observable and measurable terms, ongoing documentation of data, and

The HECIS program prepares individuals with degrees in elementary and early childhood education to serve young children with special needs in a number of settings, including early intervention for infants and toddlers (IDEA, Part C) as well as services for preschool and school-aged children from kindergarten through grade 2 (IDEA, Part B). With this training, graduates of the program are eligible for certification in New York state as a Teacher for Students with Disabilities, birth-grade 2. In addition, the HECIS program qualifies graduates to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), a certification provided by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), a credentialing program under the auspices of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies in Washington, D.C. Competencies required include knowledge of basic behavior analytic skills involving


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intervention design. Receiving the BCBA credential, in addition to the NYS certification described above, provides program graduates with the highest level of qualifications desired by agencies and schools serving young children with disabilities, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Community Partnerships Our program partners Hofstra University with the Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) and the Genesis/Eden II School. Both organizations offer services for young children with disabilities in multiple locations in New York City and Long Island. Dr. Mary McDonald, an associate professor in the School of Education and the instructor for several of the courses in the HECIS program, notes that the relationship with the Genesis/Eden II School is ideal for the

program scholars. Dr. McDonald also serves as director of outreach and consultation programs at the Genesis/ Eden II School. At DDI, scholars have the opportunity to work closely with seasoned professionals in classrooms serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers with disabilities. Dr. Linda Whitaker, director of the Starting Early program with DDI and an adjunct professor in the HECIS program at Hofstra, provides guidance and support to HECIS scholars and coordinates their field experiences at DDI.

Hands-on Learning By working with the staff at DDI and the Genesis/Eden II School, HECIS scholars are gaining crucial hands-on experience. With its combination of a master’s degree in early childhood special education and an advanced certificate in applied behavior analysis, this dual degree program trains future scholar-practitioners in how best to meet the needs of all students, especially those with disabilities that may result in challenging and maladaptive social behaviors. Challenging behaviors are associated with a number of disabilities, including autism (CDC, 2012) and intellectual disabilities (McGill, Murphy, & Kelly-Pike, 2009) as well as emotional disturbance (Friend, 2011). Behavioral problems have been linked to a diverse list of manifestations, including generalized noncompliance, aggression, self-injury, destructiveness and bullying (Roberts, Mazzucchelli, Taylor, Kelly, & Reid, 2003). The unfortunate reality is that 53 percent of teachers cite problem behavior as a major source of job dissatisfaction, while 44 percent of those who left teaching cited problem behavior as the primary reason for quitting their jobs (U.S. Department of Education, 2011).


Fostering Inclusion Successful management of challenging behaviors becomes even more pressing when one considers the inclusion of students with disabilities in typical classroom settings. The NCES reported in 2010 that students with disabilities increased their regular presence in general education classrooms by almost 13 percent in the nine years from 2000 to 2009, going from 46.5 percent to 59.4 percent. That trend has occurred across the board and in particular with students with intellectual disabilities, emotional disturbance and ASDs. The U.S. Department of Education recently reported that over 50 percent of children with disabilities ages 3-5 are diagnosed with ASD and that almost 95 percent of all students with disabilities spend at least part of their day in general education settings (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). Setting High Academic Standards With the growing incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders and other behavioral disabilities in young children, this dual degree program sets the standard for high-quality teacher preparation in early childhood special education. Dr. Hernandez (a former early childhood special education teacher) and Dr. Schwartz (a school administrator for children with special needs for over 22 years) know that this program and its course of study will provide invaluable skills to the scholars. Hofstra University is at the forefront of teacher preparation in New York state and the country. This is exemplified by our decision to be an accelerated participant in the adoption of the new standard in teacher preparation, the Educator Teacher Performance Assessment, commonly called edTPA,

thus transforming the meaning of effective teaching from one that had as its goal the successful delivery of the curriculum to one that expects teaching to result in a positive impact on student learning (Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE), 2012). By incorporating edTPA into its teacher preparation programs, the School of Education will ensure the successful creation of teacher scholars who are able to meet the most currently identified performance objectives. These objectives include the development and application of knowledge regarding the needs of learners with varied needs as well as how to best support them in the modern-day classroom. In addition, our teachers will learn to use studentspecific goals, content standards, and ongoing assessment to inform interventions. Our graduates will be able to create instructional and performance adaptations and accommodations, and know how to have learners generalize and maintain newly learned knowledge and skills (SCALE, 2012). The incorporation of edTPA is in alignment with the Common Core, New York State Teaching Standards, the Danielson Framework for Professional Practice as well as the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation (SCALE, 2012). Finally, the HECIS program has designed signature assessments that gauge our graduate students’ incorporation of the edTPA competencies into their own individual skill sets. These will be part of a multiple measures assessment system that integrates observation and supervisory evaluation and feedback along with a capstone assessment that assimilates lesson planning, instruction, student assessment and an analysis of pedagogy into a comprehensive plan of teacher preparation.

Behavioral problems have been linked to a diverse list of manifestations, including generalized noncompliance, aggression, self-injury, destructiveness and bullying.

The implementation of edTPA is in keeping with Hofstra University’s long history of elite credentials from highly regarded accreditation agencies. As early as 2004, Hofstra pioneered an inclusive master’s degree program in early childhood special education and was one of only three schools of higher education in New York state whose special education programs were approved by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the premier professional organization in the field of teaching students with disabilities. Cutting edge at the time of registration, the program’s competencies continue to form the foundation for the graduate degree programs but have now been reconstructed to meet edTPA evidencebased assessment criteria. As recently as March 2013, our School of Education was ranked in the top 100 of all graduate schools of education in the United States (U.S. News and World Report, 2013). It should be noted that Hofstra University has long been the model in providing support for students with disabilities, starting in the 1960s when it

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Preparing Ethical Professionals Graduates of Hofstra’s early childhood special education programs are also required to meet the ethical dispositions as outlined in the CEC Code of Ethics for educators of persons with disabilities. More specifically, they must:

HECIS Scholars

became the first campus in the nation to be 100 percent architecturally barrier free (under the leadership of the college’s then-Provost Harold Yuker, who was himself born with cerebral palsy). The late Dr. Frank Bowe, who served on the faculty of Hofstra’s Department of Special Education from 1989 to 2007, served as executive director of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities from 1976 to 1981. He provided crucial direction during the nationwide sit-in regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1977, the world’s first civil rights provision for persons with disabilities, which eventually led to the American with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990.

Preparing Early Childhood Special Educators Our HECIS program and its transformative inclusion of this new model will ensure the preparation of teacher scholars who will be able to provide for the educational development of learners of all capabilities, including those with behavioral difficulties that often present challenges to their ability to succeed in school. Graduates of the Hofstra MSEd in Special Education Early Childhood Intervention program must also be knowledgeable about the historical, social and legal foundations


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of the field; become experts at typical and atypical development across cognitive, communicative, socialemotional, motor and adaptive domains; understand the nature and needs associated with disabilities in young children, specifically ASDs; be able to manage the behavior of students with disabilities and promote the development of positive social interaction skills; value collaboration, including family strengthening partnerships; be able to assess, diagnose, and evaluate learning and apply research-validated methods of instructing students with disabilities, including methods of teaching reading and mathematics; be knowledgeable about the use of technology and assistive technology and the application of Universal Design for Learning (UDL); and, finally, be aware of the importance of facilitating ways to support young students with disabilities in general education settings. Our graduates will meet this need through the implementation of the Common Core, UDL, as well as differentiated instruction into an inclusive platform designed to optimize learner development and achievement. The conceptual framework of the program is illustrated on page 35.

“be committed to developing the highest educational and quality of life potential of individuals with exceptionalities, promote and maintain a high level of competence and integrity in practicing their profession, engage in professional activities that benefit individuals with exceptionalities, their families, other colleagues, students, or research subjects, strive to advance their knowledge and skills regarding the education of individuals with exceptionalities, work within the standard and policies of their profession, and uphold and improve where necessary, the laws, regulations, and policies governing the delivery of special education and related services and the practice of their profession” (CEC, 2010).

Our HECIS Scholars At the center of the HECIS program are the scholars, and we are proud to note that news of the HECIS program has spread far and wide, with potential scholars expressing interest in the program from all across New York state and the nation. Currently the program has 14 scholars, and their academic excellence and commitment to the field of early childhood special education has set the bar for all future applicants. For example Ms. Stephany Turcios-Melara, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently serves as a substitute teacher in the New York City public schools, working with children with a wide variety of abilities. In a recent interview, Stephany provided insight as to why she


enrolled in the HECIS program to become an early childhood special educator: “For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. During high school I had the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization in my community that served children and families affected by autism. Their focus on applied behavior analysis sparked my interest in this field, which led me to apply to the HECIS program. Through my experiences in NYC public schools and Long Island programs, I realized there was a huge need for bilingual special education professionals in early intervention settings. My goal after graduating from the HECIS program is to work with Spanish-speaking students and their families who are learning to navigate the special education system. I plan to continue my education and gain experiences so that I can also serve as an advocate for Latino student families and communities in high-needs areas. I am excited to begin my career upon completion of this program, and I am looking forward to my future endeavors in the special education field.” Another scholar, Ms. Meaghan Mooney, has been working as a teacher assistant with young children with autism in a local school on Long Island and wanted to pursue a graduate degree in early childhood special education. In a recent discussion, Meaghan shared a few of her thoughts regarding the HECIS program:

Hofstra had a great special education program. As a bonus I was contacted by you to see if I was interested in the Advanced Certificate ABA program. After I looked into the program, I was extremely excited because ABA was one of the fields that I was very interested in working in ... so I accepted.”

and versatile teacher within the classroom. Christina went on to say that she hoped to become more versatile in the special education field, and to learn and implement strategies and techniques “that will not only strengthen my ability as a teacher, but also enable my future students to become successful and independent individuals.”

She also discussed her career goals: “After completing the HECIS program, I plan to work at a high-needs school in our area, either on Long Island or in the city. I am excited to spend some time in an area where I have not had much experience, and I hope to create a better future and better lives for those children.”

Our most recently admitted scholar, Melissa Horsford, was searching for the right graduate degree program and at the last minute decided to attend a Graduate Open House at Hofstra in July 2014. In a recent discussion, Melissa said, “When I first heard about the program, I was delighted to learn of the incentives for prospective candidates, which included partial funding to help pay for grad school.” Melissa also added that she was excited that the program included courses that fulfill the requirement to be board certified as a behavioral analyst. “I was intrigued by what the program offered, and it applied to what I wanted to achieve as a special educator.”

Meaghan’s excitement was echoed by another scholar, Christina Shortell, who told us that when she originally heard about the HECIS program she was excited to be a part of the program. She said, “it would not only satisfy my desire for a special education degree, but also enhance my knowledge of applied behavior analysis.” Combining the two areas not only enables marketability but also provides for a more knowledgeable

Finally, Ms. Susan Sheen, an experienced elementary educator who decided to

HECIS Program Conceptual Framework

“For several years I had worked at Camp ANCHOR, specifically with young boys with ASD. Upon graduating from the University of Scranton, I was disappointed that my degree was in general education because I realized I really wanted to work with individuals with disabilities in schools. So when researching schools in my local area I saw that

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return to the field after raising her children, exemplifies the motivation and determination that we look for in our scholars. Susan stated that she returned to school because she wanted to learn more about autism and the impact of early intervention. She also wanted to get back into the classroom after taking time off to be home with her three children and working part-time at her church, where she recently started working with children with developmental delays. Susan believes the HECIS program will help her learn about the recent developments in early childhood special education and also help her fill the growing need for early intervention specialists. As one can see, HECIS scholars are unique and diverse in many ways, but all share the pursuit of academic excellence and the desire to serve young children with special needs. They are committed to the field and the young children they will serve as early childhood special educators. They all have a very bright future and rewarding careers ahead of them.

Impact on the Community Ms. Carolyn Gammerman, director of the Long Island Early Childhood Direction Center, a component of the New York State Department of Education that provides information and helps families obtain services for their young children with developmental disabilities, articulates the sentiment of many professionals in the field. Ms. Gammerman noted, “The challenges presented by young children with disabilities often result in maladaptive social behaviors in early childhood settings and homes.� Ms. Gammerman recognizes that educators and families alike seek assistance with teaching appropriate behaviors and improving learning outcomes in


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children from a very young age, and she believes Hofstra is responding to this need with the HECIS program and its dual certification in early childhood special education and applied behavior analysis. She is pleased that scholars in the program will have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in early childhood special education settings and that its comprehensive teacher preparation will help to ensure that children on Long Island will have the best possible outcomes in school, at home and in their future endeavors.

References Centers for Disease Control (2012). New Data on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ Features/Counting/Autism/ Friend, M. (2011). Special Education: Contemporary Perspectives for School Professionals (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. McGill, P., Murphy, G., & Kelly-Pike, A. (2009). Frequency of use and characteristics of people with intellectual disabilities subject to physical interventions. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 22: 152-158. doi:12.111/j.1468-3148. 2008.00483.x. New York State Department of Labor (2012). Current employment statistics for the Nassau-Suffolk, NY Metropolitan Region. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http:// labor.ny.gov/stats/cesemp.asp New York State Department of Labor (2010). Long term employment projections. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.labor.state. ny.us/stats/lsproj.shtm Roberts, C., Mazzucchelli, T., Taylor, K., & Reid, R. (2003). Early intervention for behavior problems in young children with development disabilities. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 50(3). Accessed January 3, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ abs/10.1080/103412032000120453

Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (2012). Teaching Performance Assessment edTPA. Accessed February 8, 2013. Retrieved from http: //scale Stanford.edu/teaching/ edtpa U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau (2013). State and County Quick Facts. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http//quickfacts.census. gove/gfd/states/36000.html U.S. Department of Education (2014). 35th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, Parts B and C, 2013.Accessed October 16, 2014. Retrieved from www2.ed.gov/about/ reports/annual/osep/index.html U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2011). Participation in Education-Table A-9-1. The Condition of Education. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2012-001), Chapter 2. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http:// nces.ed.gov/FastFacts/display.asp?id-64 U.S. Department of Education, National Center of Educational Statistics (2013). Table 6. Actual and projected numbers for enrollment in grades PK-12 in public elementary and secondary schools, by region and stated: Fall 2003 through Fall 2021. Institute of Education Sciences. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/ projections/projections2021/tables/ table_6.asp?referrer=list U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009). Job Outlook for Special Education Teachers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Accessed February 1, 2013. Retrieved from http://bls.gov/ooh/educationtraining-and-library/special-educationteachers.htm#tab-6 U.S. News & World Report, Best Graduate Schools in Education (2013). Accessed March 15, 2013. Retrieved from http:// grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews. com/best-graduate-schools/topeducation-schools/edu-rankings/page+4.


Stephen J. Hernandez, EdD, serves as a co-director of the Hofstra Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (HECIS) program and has been a full-time member of the faculty in the School of Education since 2008. In addition to Dr. Hernandez’s work in academia, he worked for over 30 years serving individuals with special needs in positions ranging from classroom instructor to school administrator in educational settings serving children with varying abilities. Dr. Hernandez earned a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University, a Master of Science in Education from Long Island University-Brooklyn College at its Westchester campus, a Professional Diploma in educational administration from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education, and a Doctor of Education from Hofstra University. Dr. Hernandez’s areas of research include collaborative teaming, interdisciplinary intervention and the management of children’s challenging behaviors. His teaching interests include understanding emotional and behavioral disorders of children and youth as well as the assessment and diagnosis of young children with developmental delays and disabilities.

Diane Schwartz, EdD, professor of special education and co-director of the HECIS program, came to Hofstra in the fall of 1994 after a long and distinguished career as a teacher in the field of special education and early childhood special education, including work with the New York City Board of Education and United Cerebral Palsy of Long Island. She was a founder of the New Interdisciplinary School in Suffolk County, a program for children birth through 5 years old with disabilities and their families. More recently Dr. Schwartz was instrumental in developing teacher preparation programs for inclusive education. For five years she served on the New York State Higher Education Task Force for Quality Inclusive Schooling. She is the co-author (with Starr Cline) of Diverse Populations of Gifted Children: Meeting Their Needs in the Regular Classroom and Beyond and is the author of Including Children With Special Needs: A Handbook for Educators and Parents. Dr. Schwartz continues to be actively involved in the education of young children with disabilities and is past president of the New York State Division for Early Childhood for the Council of Exceptional Children. Dr. Schwartz’s teaching interests include early childhood special education, universal design for learning, cultural competence, and family systems. Her research interests include early intervention for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Universal Design for Learning. For more information on the HECIS grant and careers in special education, please contact Dr. Hernandez at 516-463-5759 or Stephen.J.Hernandez@hofstra.edu or Dr. Schwartz at 516-463-5778 or Diane.C.Schwartz@hofstra.edu.

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KARI B. JENSEN • Global Studies and Geography, Hofstra Kari B. Jensen, PhD, associate professor of geography in the Department of Global Studies and Geography, was named 2014 Mentor of the Year, an Kari B. Jensen award now in its fourth year that honors outstanding faculty supervision 2014 Hofstra University of advanced undergraduate research. Dr. Jensen teaches courses in Mentor of the Year human geography, child labor, cultural globalization, geographic methodology, and the geography of South Asia, and her current research focuses on child labor issues in Bangladesh as well as multicultural youth in the United States and Norway. She also supervises students’ departmental honors projects and internships in both geography and global studies. “There is no such thing as a one-sizefits-all model in advisement, so I try to take the time to get to know my students and adjust my involvement according to their needs and interests,” said Dr. Jensen. “I see this award as a great honor, and it’s humbling to get such recognition. It’s fulfilling to work with students on their research and observe how much they are able to develop their thinking and writing.” Students who nominated Dr. Jensen all mentioned her unwavering commitment: “Dr. Jensen is the most dedicated professor I have ever had the honor of working with. Not only is she brilliant in her field, but she is also highly encouraging and immeasurably helpful,” said one. “She motivated me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of, and taught me concepts and skills that I will use for a lifetime.” “In the midst of teaching multiple courses, serving as faculty advisor to the Get Global club, acting as advisor on three different honors theses, and conducting her own research work, her devotion to her students’ research is inexhaustible,” added another. “I have never encountered a professor so committed to helping her students excel academically.” The prize is given to a full-time faculty member who has guided students toward developing original ideas for research in any discipline – from the laboratory or clinic to the library, field, or stage – which marks the transition of the undergraduate student into graduate studies and professional life. In addition to overseeing honors theses, she also works closely with the department’s student club, Get Global, and the Geography Honors Society, and has been a frequent speaker for Center for Civic Engagement events such as Globalization Day and Earth Day. “Dr. Jensen is an extremely talented and well-regarded teacher and academic who has inspired many students to further their studies in geography,” noted department chair, Dr. Grant Saff. The award reaffirms Hofstra’s recognition of advanced undergraduate research and dedicated faculty supervision as part of its commitment to teaching excellence. Dr. Jensen was presented with the Mentor of the Year award at the Latin Honors Recognition Convocation on Sunday, May 18, 2014. Previous winners of the award were Mary Ann Allison, associate professor of journalism, media studies, and public relations, and Justin DiAngelo, assistant professor of biology.


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Hofstra at a Glance LOCATION Hempstead, Long Island, 25 miles east of New York City. Telephone: 516-463-6600 CHARACTER A private, nonsectarian, coeducational university. PRESIDENT Stuart Rabinowitz, JD COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Hofstra University Honors College; Frank G. Zarb School of Business; The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication; School of Education; School of Health Sciences and Human Services; School of Engineering and Applied Science; Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University; Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Graduate Nursing and Health Professionals; Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University; School for University Studies; and Hofstra University Continuing Education. FACULTY There are 1,157 faculty members, of whom 498 are full-time. Ninety-two percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields. STUDENT BODY Undergraduate enrollment of 6,922. Total University enrollment, including graduate, School of Law and School of Medicine, is about 11,032. Undergraduate male-female ratio is 47-to-53. DEGREES Bachelor’s degrees are offered in about 145 program options. Graduate degrees, including PhD, EdD, PsyD, AuD, JD, and MD, advanced certificates and professional diplomas, are offered in about 160 program options. THE HOFSTRA CAMPUS With 115 buildings and 240 acres, Hofstra is a member of the American Public Gardens Association. LIBRARIES The Hofstra libraries contain 1 million+ volumes and provide 24/7 online access to more than 75,000 full-text journals and 150,000 electronic books. ACCESSIBILITY Hofstra is 100 percent program accessible to persons with disabilities. JANUARY AND SUMMER SESSIONS Hofstra offers a January session and three summer sessions between May and August.

Trustees of Hofstra University As of March 2015 OFFICERS Alan J. Bernon,* Chair Karen L. Lutz, Vice Chair David S. Mack,* Vice Chair Robert D. Rosenthal,* Vice Chair Peter G. Schiff, Secretary Stuart Rabinowitz, President MEMBERS Tejinder Bindra Kenneth Brodlieb James D’Addario* Robert F. Dall* Helene Fortunoff Steven J. Freiberg* Arno H. Fried Martin B. Greenberg* Leo A. Guthart Peter S. Kalikow* Arthur J. Kremer Diana E. Lake* Elizabeth McCaul Janis M. Meyer* John D. Miller* Marilyn B. Monter* Martha S. Pope Julio A. Portalatin* James E. Quinn* Edwin C. Reed Michael Roberge* Debra A. Sandler* Thomas J. Sanzone* Michael Seiman* Donald M. Schaeffer Leonard H. Shapiro Joseph Sparacio* Frank G. Zarb* DELEGATES Stuart L. Bass,* Chair, University Senate Executive Committee Andrew F. Corrado,* President, Alumni Organization William F. Nirode, Speaker of the Faculty Mark Atkinson, President, Student Government Association Nicole Olson, Vice President, Student Government Association Eugene Maccarrone,* Chair, University Senate Planning and Budget Committee James M. Shuart,* President Emeritus Wilbur Breslin, Trustee Emeritus Emil V. Cianciulli,* Chair Emeritus John J. Conefry, Jr., Chair Emeritus Maurice A. Deane,* Chair Emeritus George G. Dempster,* Chair Emeritus Joseph L. Dionne,* Trustee Emeritus Lawrence Herbert,* Trustee Emeritus Florence Kaufman, Trustee Emerita Walter B. Kissinger, Trustee Emeritus Ann M. Mallouk,* Chair Emerita Thomas H. O’Brien, Trustee Emeritus Norman R. Tengstrom,* Trustee Emeritus *Hofstra alumni

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Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Hofstra University

Hofstra Meets the Educational Needs of Young Children With Developmental Disabilities See page 30.


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