Hofstra Horizons - Fall 2009

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HOFSTRAhorizons FALL 2009

Looking for Change: How Does the Early Leadership of Barack Obama Compare to the First Hundred Days of Franklin D. Roosevelt?

Research and Scholarship Promoting Excellence in Teaching at Hofstra University

president’s COLUMN


t the core of Hofstra’s growing reputation as a leading institution of higher education is our faculty. We are honored to have faculty committed to innovation and to pioneering new methods within their fields using multidisciplinary approaches. The collection of articles in this issue demonstrates their dedication not only to research, but to teaching as well. Keith Shafritz, assistant professor of psychology, describes his studies with colleagues on the cognitive control mechanisms of the brain with a focus on ADHD and autism, while Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Benjamin Wolff discusses his performance project centered around the early life of renowned physicist Galileo, offering a novel interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. Political Science Professor Meena Bose gives a keen analysis of the first 100 days of the presidencies of Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt, comparing the challenges and objectives of each administration, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology Ann Feuerbach embarks on a project that supports technological innovation while preserving cultural diversity, and offers exploratory learning experiences for students. Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Teaching Blidi Stemn, a mathematics teacher educator, details his work in the Hempstead School District aimed at improving students’ achievements by implementing new methods in professional teacher development. Lastly, Senior Research Associate-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor of Religion Phyllis Zagano probes the question of Catholic women deacons during her 2009 Fulbright Fellowship at Mary Immaculate College of the University of Limerick in Ireland. I am pleased to introduce yet another issue of Hofstra Horizons and showcase the quality of scholarship evident in our faculty. It is also exciting and gratifying to note that Blidi Stemn and many other professors at Hofstra have been recognized by the National Science Foundation as well as other regional and national sponsors. I congratulate the authors on their achievements and thank them for their contributions to Hofstra and our neighboring communities. Sincerely,

Stuart Rabinowitz President


table of contents 4 How the Brain Helps Us Control Our Behavior

10 Galileo’s Muse: A Tale of Creativity and Insight

16 Looking for Change: How Does the Early Leadership of Barack Obama Compare to the First Hundred Days of Franklin D. Roosevelt? HOFSTRA HORIZONS is published semiannually in the fall and spring by the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs, 144 Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York 11549-1440. 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. ©2009 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.

22 Innovation, Here, There and Everywhere: Developing Appropriate Technology to Improve Quality of Life and Retain Cultural Diversity

provost’s COLUMN


ofstra University is a nationally recognized institution whose faculty have played a lead role in its ever-increasing prominence. Faculty research and intellectual endeavors demonstrate a dedication to their disciplines and to their teaching, as well as to the University. As provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, I am proud to introduce another issue of Hofstra Horizons, which highlights the excellent scholarly work of our faculty. This issue is particularly fascinating and timely. Dr. Keith Shafritz and his collaborators examine the executive functioning of the brain and its patterns. His research aims to find ways to better diagnose and treat attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as identify the brain regions associated with autism. The second article by Benjamin Wolff invites us into the creative thinking process of physicist Galileo with his multidisciplinary music performance project, Galileo’s Muse. Professor Wolff does this by combining theater, music and a science demonstration in a performance that interprets Galileo’s thoughts and discoveries focused around the formulation of his “Law of Falling Bodies.”

28 The Mathematics Learning Community Project: Placing Resources Where It Matters the Most

34 Catholic Rituals and the Question of Women Deacons

Stuart Rabinowitz, J.D. President Herman A. Berliner, Ph.D. Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Sofia Kakoulidis, M.B.A. Associate Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs

Professor of Political Science and Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies Meena Bose expands on her recent Define ’09 lecture, “Looking for Change: Evaluating the First Hundred Days of the Obama Administration.” She gives an insightful comparison of the first 100 days of the administrations of Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt. And in an interesting article by Dr. Ann Feuerbach, she discusses her vision of a “classroom of the future,” where students, professors, and professionals discuss and research how cultural diversity can influence technology to improve our quality of life. The penultimate article by Dr. Blidi Stemn, who recently received the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Award from the National Science Foundation, details his most recent education projects, which include the goal of building a model K-9 school that focuses on math, science and technology. The last article by Dr. Phyllis Zagano updates us on her 2009 Fulbright Fellowship, which allowed her to teach a course in Ireland on the history of women in Christianity, as well as expand her research on the fervent debate about Catholic women deacons. The pieces in this issue of Horizons symbolize the vitality and excellence evident in our faculty. I know you will enjoy reading this latest issue of Hofstra Horizons as much as I have. Sincerely,

Alice Diaz-Bonhomme, B.A. Assistant Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs Christopher Egan, M.S. Assistant Dean for Research and Sponsored Programs

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

How the Brain Helps Us Control Our Behavior Keith Shafritz, Assistant Professor of Psychology


n the course of a conversation, have you ever found yourself observing another person’s puzzled expression and stopped what you were saying in mid-sentence? In such situations, you may find it easy or difficult to resume what you were saying. Why is it that some people have an easy time altering their ongoing behavior, while others appear to have great difficulty shifting away from or stopping their ongoing behavior? Humans are constantly altering and adapting their behaviors to coincide with the current environmental context or the demands


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of the task to which they are currently attending. This alteration of ongoing behavior often occurs so that we engage in the most fitting behavioral responses given the current context, and inhibit those behaviors deemed inappropriate to the current situation. In social situations, the evaluation of emotional information conveyed by the facial expression and body language of other individuals becomes a central aspect of this decision-making process. The generation of appropriate behaviors in response to changing

situations requires several mental (or “cognitive�) and behavioral processes acting in concert with one another. We must first evaluate the global rules governing behavior in a given context, then select the most fitting response among competing possibilities, inhibit any ongoing behavioral response (if necessary), and generate an appropriate response. However, the mental activities that go along with decision making do not end there. Following a decision and its resulting behavioral response, we must also monitor our responses for appropriateness, determine whether we have made any

errors, and update our responses as necessary. Further, we may have prepotent responses to a given situation, which are responses that are most likely to occur but may not be the most appropriate response for the task at hand. This seemingly incredibly complex set of mental activities often occurs within a matter of seconds (sometimes in a fraction of a second), and under normal circumstances can be carried out without a huge amount of conscious mental effort. Assisting in this decision-making process is a collection of mental processes that psychologists refer to as executive functions. Although not completely agreed upon, the list of executive functions includes inhibiting ongoing or prepotent responses, initiating and monitoring responses, planning, and shifting attention where necessary (Denckla, 1996). These mental processes allow us to maintain cognitive flexibility and to have flexible behaviors in dynamic situations. As such, they have also been referred to as our cognitive control mechanism. Although executive functions tend to work seamlessly under most circumstances, many psychiatric disorders are marked by dysregulation of executive functioning, including attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, schizophrenia, and obsessivecompulsive disorder. In these disorders, people often find themselves unable to flexibly adapt their behavior or to stop ongoing behavioral responses. Therefore, these disorders, among others, are marked by maladaptive behavioral responses. In the last few decades, psychologists have created a number of standardized neuropsychological tests designed to

measure various aspects of executive functioning. One of these tasks, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, measures an individual’s ability to generate a set of rules governing behavior and the ability to alter behavioral responses when those rules change. Another task, the Tower of Hanoi, requires participants to rearrange a set of disks on a pegboard while following a set of rules. This task evaluates the ability to plan a series of subgoals necessary to achieve a final goal. In the color-word Stroop task, participants are shown names of colors that are written using a particular color of ink. While most trials have the ink match the printed name of the color, some involve conflicting ink color and printed color name. The participant must verbally name the color of the ink and not the word. Because reading is a very salient activity, this is a difficult task even for those familiar with the task. The Stroop task involves several components of executive functioning, including response monitoring, selective attention, and inhibition of prepotent responses. In addition to these standardized measures, psychologists have devised a number of experimental measures that are used to determine executive functioning in different populations. The go/no-go task is a measure of inhibition in which the participant is instructed to respond to all stimuli except for a pre-assigned target. The participant must withhold responding when this target is presented. Omitting responses when they are required (errors of omission) demonstrates inattention, while inappropriately responding to non-target stimuli (errors of commission) is indicative of impulsivity, or lack of inhibitory control.

“... we can create a map of the brain that pinpoints the function of each brain region.”

One of the most significant advances in the field of psychology is the advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI is a noninvasive brain imaging technique that uses strong magnetic fields to detect subtle changes in blood flow in regions of the brain that are utilized during a particular mental activity. When researchers compare the blood flow to a particular brain region during one mental activity with blood flow to that region during an alternate activity, they can determine which regions of the brain are recruited, or “activated,” for a particular mental task. In this manner, we can create a map of the brain that pinpoints the function of each brain region. Because fMRI poses very little danger to most

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participants, the technique can be used in children as well as adults, and people can be repeatedly scanned without adverse effects. Thus, we can examine developmental changes in brain activity patterns, and some researchers are even using the technique to examine brain structural changes in developing fetuses. Designing and implementing a well-controlled fMRI study is not easy, however, and valid conclusions are sometimes difficult to draw because of the artificial experimental setting in which the studies take place. Participants must lie very still on a bed inside a confining MRI machine and can make responses only by pressing buttons on a response box. Moreover, brain activation can be determined only by comparing blood flow during one mental task with blood flow during another mental task. Therefore, all mental tasks in the MRI either involve alternating periods of different behaviors or thoughts, or require the participant to rapidly alter an ongoing behavior or thought pattern. Despite these limitations, the technique has become the most widely used and accepted tool to examine human brain function. Over the past several years, my colleagues and I have used fMRI combined with neuropsychological testing to examine the brain basis for executive functions. We have focused on two areas of research: how emotional information interacts with brain regions responsible for cognitive control to produce flexible and adaptive behavior in social situations, and


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Figure 1. Adapted from Shafritz et al. (2004).

whether these brain regions are functioning properly in individuals with psychiatric disorders that are marked by executive dysfunction. We have focused particularly on ADHD and autism. ADHD is an increasingly common childhood diagnosis characterized by symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Official estimates suggest that 3-7 percent of school-aged children are affected by this disorder, although some estimates put the prevalence much higher. Symptoms often persist into young adulthood, and long-term consequences include lower educational and occupational achievement and increased risk for developing other psychiatric disorders. Part of the difficulty in properly diagnosing ADHD is that the symptoms overlap with (and may mask) other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and mood

disorders. The goal of my research program is to ultimately find patterns of brain activity that are specific to ADHD, with the hope of improving diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. In one study, we examined whether Ritalin – one of the most commonly used drugs to treat the disorder – altered brain activation during a mental activity designed to engage two forms of attention: selective attention and divided attention (Shafritz, Marchione, Gore, Shaywitz, & Shaywitz, 2004). Participants in the study included adolescents with either ADHD, or reading disorder, or no psychiatric diagnosis. The participants in the ADHD and reading disorder groups participated in a drug trial in which they were tested on two different days. On one day, the participant would receive a single dose of Ritalin, and on an alternate day, he or she would receive a placebo pill. The participants were randomly assigned to receive

either Ritalin first or placebo first, and neither the researchers nor the participants knew whether they were receiving Ritalin or placebo on a given day (a double-blind study). Due to ethical considerations of giving a stimulant medication to adolescents without ADHD, the comparison group did not go through the drug trial, and were instead tested in a single testing session. During the study, participants were scanned in an MRI machine while they completed auditory and visual performance tests. Words were projected onto a screen and presented through a set of headphones. The words were either real English words or pronounceable nonsense words. During tests of selective attention, participants were prompted to pay attention to only one of the two presented words and to determine whether that word was a real word or a nonsense word. During tests of divided attention, participants saw and heard a word simultaneously and then needed to determine whether both the words were real words or nonsense words. We found that the brain activation patterns were remarkably similar between the ADHD, reading disorder, and comparison groups, with one major exception. Part of the basal ganglia, a collection of structures deep within the brain that are known to help direct voluntary motor movements and coordinate behavioral actions, was less active in the ADHD and reading disorder participants when participants took the placebo. When given Ritalin, the activation in this structure increased and was equivalent to the activation in the comparison group. Interestingly, Ritalin did not affect performance on the task, nor did it

differentially affect the brain activation patterns of the ADHD and reading disorder groups. These results suggest that both ADHD and reading disorder are associated with dysfunction in the brain’s attentional and executive functioning circuitry and that Ritalin may act to normalize activity in this circuitry, especially within the basal ganglia. One of the most unexpected findings in the study was that the effects of Ritalin on brain activation appeared to be independent of psychiatric diagnosis. This may indicate that Ritalin has similar effects on brain function whether or not ADHD is present. In another study, we examined the brain basis of executive functioning in a group of children and their parents, in which both the children and parents had a diagnosis of ADHD (Epstein et al., 2007). The children and parents participated in a double-blind medication trial with Ritalin. As before, participants were randomly assigned to receive Ritalin first or placebo first, and then received the alternate medication on a second testing day. Participants were then scanned using fMRI while they completed a go/ no-go response inhibition test. During the task, English letters appeared one at a time on a computer screen, and participants were instructed to press a button for all letters except “X.” Results from the group of children and parents with ADHD were compared to results from a group of child-parent dyads with no history of psychiatric disorder or learning disability. This comparison group did not participate in the medication trial. We found that compared with the group without ADHD, children and their

“... Ritalin exerts its behavioral and cognitive effects by altering the function of the basal ganglia.’’

parents with ADHD showed reduced activation in the basal ganglia and in regions of the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex (a part of the brain often described as the brain’s CEO). Interestingly, Ritalin increased activation in the basal ganglia for both the children and parents with ADHD. These results indicate that the brain structures implicated in ADHD may not change over the course of development. Further, the results lend additional support to the idea that Ritalin exerts its behavioral and cognitive effects by altering the function of the basal ganglia. In another line of research, my colleagues and I have been investigating the brain basis of executive functioning in autism. Although the most prominent symptoms of autism are impairments in social interaction and social communication, many individuals with autism also have repetitive, stereotyped

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correlated with participants’ scores on a scale measuring the severity of their repetitive behaviors. Taken together, these findings indicate that executive dysfunction is present in autism and is associated with reduced activation in certain brain regions.

Figure 2. Adapted from Shafritz et al. (2008).

patterns of behavior (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). It is believed that these repetitive behaviors are associated with a dysregulation of executive function. Although individuals with autism are not impaired on all laboratory measures of executive functioning, they have fairly consistent difficulties with altering ongoing behaviors (Hill, 2004). To investigate the brain basis for these difficulties, my colleagues and I conducted an fMRI study in which the brain activation for a group of participants with autism was compared with the activation in a group of typically developing controls (Shafritz, Dichter, Baranek, & Belger, 2008). Study participants watched a computer screen as geometric shapes appeared one at a time. Most of the time, the shapes were squares, but occasionally, a triangle or circle appeared. At the start of each round of the task, either the triangle or circle was designated as the “target“ shape for that group of trials. Participants were required to press one response button for non-


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target shapes and an alternate button when a target shape appeared. The shape that was designated as the target changed periodically throughout the task, in order to test whether the autism participants had difficulty maintaining mental flexibility (in addition to behavioral flexibility). In terms of their behavioral responses, the participants with autism had difficulty altering their behavioral responses when target shapes appeared. Interestingly, participants were able to maintain certain aspects of mental flexibility, because they successfully altered response patterns when the target shape was changed during the task. The brain imaging findings showed that during the response shifting portion of the task, participants with autism had less activation compared with controls in three parts of the brain: the basal ganglia, the prefrontal cortex, and the parietal cortex. These regions are all part of the brain’s attention and executive function circuitry. We also found that activation in parts of these regions was

As a follow-up to these findings, I am currently working on a project in conjunction with two researchers at North Shore-LIJ, Dr. Joel Bregman and Dr. Phil Szeszko. We are examining the brain basis of emotion recognition and executive functioning in autism to determine the brain regions that may be responsible for faulty social decision making in the disorder. We hope to find dysregulation in certain brain regions that may be specific to autism, because findings to date have shown a great degree of overlap in brain dysfunction for several related psychiatric disorders, including autism, ADHD, schizophrenia, and obsessivecompulsive disorder. Once brain regions are identified that may tie uniquely into each disorder, we will be able to find specific behavioral or drug treatments that target those specific brain regions. Moreover, by targeting treatments to specific brain regions, we hope not only to improve the outcomes of those treatments, but also to limit the side effects of medications that are used to treat the disorders.

Acknowledgments The research described here was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIMH, NICHD, NIBIB). Thanks to Dr. Donna Lutz for helpful comments.

References: American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed, Text Revision. Washington, DC: APA. Denckla, M. B. (1996). A theory and model of executive function: A neuropsychological approach. In G. R. Lyon & N. A. Krasnegor (Eds.), Attention, Memory, and Executive Function. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing Co.

Epstein, J. N., Casey, B. J., Tonev, S. T., Davidson, M. C., Reiss, A. L., Garrett, A., et al. (2007). ADHDand medication-related brain activation effects in concordantly affected parent-child dyads with ADHD. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 48(9), 899-913. Hill, E. L. (2004). Executive dysfunction in autism. Trends Cogn Sci, 8(1), 26-32.

Shafritz, K. M., Dichter, G. S., Baranek, G. T., & Belger, A. (2008). The neural circuitry mediating shifts in behavioral response and cognitive set in autism. Biol Psychiatry, 63(10), 974-980. Shafritz, K. M., Marchione, K. E., Gore, J. C., Shaywitz, S. E., & Shaywitz, B. A. (2004). The effects of methylphenidate on neural systems of attention in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Psychiatry, 161(11), 1990-1997.

Keith Shafritz is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Hofstra University. Dr. Shafritz earned a B.A. in psychology from Haverford College and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Yale University. Following a one-year postdoctoral research fellowship in the Psychiatry Department at Yale University School of Medicine, he served as a research associate in the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University. He then went on to become a visiting assistant professor at Drew University and joined the Hofstra faculty in 2006. Dr. Shafritz’s research interests focus on the brain basis of attention and executive functions, which are the mental processes that allow for flexible behavior in changing conditions. His research projects fall under two major themes: 1) the role of different brain structures in guiding flexible behavior and how emotional information interacts with the functioning of these brain structures; and 2) the relevance of these brain structures to childhood and adolescent psychiatric disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. His research uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to visualize brain activity while people engage in a variety of mental activities.

Keith Shafritz

Dr. Shafritz’s professional affiliations include the Society for Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a member of Sigma Xi and has consulted for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In addition, he is an active reviewer for a number of neuroscience and psychiatry journals. His biography has been included in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. Dr. Shafritz is a core faculty member in Hofstra’s B.A. in Psychology program. His regular teaching roster includes Introduction to Psychology, Statistics, and Biopsychology.

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Galileo’s Muse: A Tale of Creativity and Insight Clockwise from upper left: Inclined plane with frets, lute fingerboard with frets, lute duet, Benjamin Wolff demonstrating Galileo’s inclined plane, teachers try out the experiment for themselves at Monroe Lecture Center Theater after a performance for Hofstra’s IDEAS Institute, front view of inclined plane, performers adjusting a fret.

How the Brain Helps Us Control Our Behavior Photo compilation by Benjamin Wolff

Benjamin Wolff, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music The year is 1604. A young Italian scientist sits alone in his workshop surrounded by the apparatus of his experiments – pendulums, bronze balls, wooden boards, and planes of various lengths. For months on end he has been trying to figure out how objects move. But now, in frustration, he realizes that his eye is just not quick enough, and his clocks not precise enough for the measurements that he desperately needs. Troubled by his failure he walks to the corner of his workshop and picks up his beloved lute. He tunes its strings and begins to play. Then, as music fills the space around him, he has an idea ... Narration from Galileo’s Muse, 2009


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he great conductor, composer, and teacher Leonard Bernstein once made a statement about learning that I have remembered and treasured ever since I heard it. “The very best way to know a thing,” he said, “is in the context of another discipline.” Extolling this kind of exploration can seem out of fashion today, when our students are often encouraged to specialize and narrow their focus as the best way to get ahead. Without interdisciplinary exposure, however, our ability to be imaginative in developing new ideas and creative

in solving problems is invariably diminished. I believe that it is only when we engage in wide-ranging and continued discovery in areas outside our own fields that we invite the kind of observations that spark new ideas and that make it possible for us to think in fresh ways about the things that are most familiar. For the past few years I’ve been working on a performance project that offers a unique perspective on the value of thinking across disciplines. Galileo’s Muse tells the story of a remarkable kind of insight from one of history’s

most innovative minds. Through music and words, it reveals how a breakthrough idea can come from where we least expect it, demonstrating one of the most powerful techniques of truly creative people — how they use their knowledge and expertise in one area to solve problems in another.

Background Like the lesson it communicates, this project had its beginnings in chance and simple curiosity. Several years ago I happened across a fascinating and delightful book by Stony Brook Professor of Philosophy Robert Crease, titled The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science. In the chapter on Galileo’s experiment of the inclined plane (one of the foundation experiments of modern science), Crease relates that, according to the late Galileo expert and science historian Stillman Drake, music held the key to one of Galileo’s most important scientific

accomplishments – the formulation of his “Law of Falling Bodies.” Few people are aware of this (I certainly wasn’t at the time), but Galileo came from a family of respected professional musicians. His father, Vincenzo Galilei, was a well-known lute player, composer, and musical theorist in late 16th-century Florence. His younger brother Michelagnolo, also a lute player and composer, worked and performed at royal courts throughout Europe. And Galileo was an accomplished lute player himself – his music a constant companion throughout his life. As a musician, and having recently performed the early Italian baroque music of Galileo’s time, I perked up on reading this – not at all expecting a reference to music in a book on science. It seems that, in addition to Galileo’s brilliance as a theorist, Stillman Drake was arguing for a greater appreciation of Galileo’s exceptional skill and creativity as an experimental scientist. After carefully examining a particular

“Whether we are students or teachers, scientists, artists, or pursuing our dreams in other areas — the ability to look for, and find insight in, the most common things is our creative birthright.”

Clockwise from upper left: Baroque lute, folio 107v from Galileo’s working notes, Galileo’s Muse ensemble, astronaut David Scott about to drop a hammer and feather on the moon, Benjamin Wolff presenting at CUNY, and large and small hailstones.

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“ … imagination shouldn’t have boundaries and that insight often comes from the most unexpected places.”

page in Galileo’s laboratory notebooks (folio 107v) that documents his work with inclined planes, Drake concluded that Galileo turned to his thorough musical training to help him equalize short intervals of time, leading him to the revolutionary conclusion that for an object falling freely, the distance from fall is always proportional to the square of the elapsed time. Of course, this is Drake’s personal interpretation of 400-year-old laboratory data, but, as related in Crease’s book (and in Drake’s original research), I found it absolutely compelling and, being a musician,


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began immediately thinking of a way to bring this wonderfully elegant intersection of art and science off the page and onto the stage. With the right kind of presentation, it seemed to me that an audience from either discipline might learn from an important historical example that imagination shouldn’t have boundaries and that insight often comes from the most unexpected places. Actually creating that presentation took several years, but the finished piece has convinced me that my motivations were correct. Galileo’s Muse – a combination of theater, music, and science demonstration – employs the combined forces of two baroque violins, baroque cello, lute and theorbo (bass lute), as well as a modern re-creation of Galileo’s inclined plane. With material from Drake’s writings, Galileo’s notebooks, contemporary accounts, rarely heard pieces by Galileo’s composer father and brother, and other music of Galileo’s time (composers such as Andrea Falconiero, Giovanni Legrenzi, and Tarquinio Merula), along with a liberal dollop of my own imagination to fill gaps in the story, the complete show is about an hour long. During the course of a performance, I wear many hats (though not literally). I narrate Galileo’s thoughts and discoveries, I demonstrate his experiment of the inclined plane, and I play baroque cello in the musical interludes, moving back and forth between all three roles. It keeps me quite busy! Unfortunately, a musical and theatrical performance doesn’t naturally translate onto the page, but, in a considerably shortened form, here is a description of the sights, sounds and some of the narration that you’d experience at a performance of Galileo’s Muse.

Synopsis of the Performance Imagine a stage – violins, lutes, and cello in a shallow semicircle – an inclined plane at the front and to the left. The lights dim. A grainy video fills a screen that hangs across the back of the stage. Astronaut David Scott of the 1971 Apollo 15 mission stands in his spacesuit on the surface of the moon. He holds a feather in one hand and a hammer in the other. “One of the reasons we got here today,” he says, “is because of a gentleman named Galileo a long time ago who made a rather significant discovery about falling objects in gravity fields. And we thought, where would be a better place to confirm his findings than on the moon? So I’ll drop the two of them here and, hopefully, they’ll hit the ground at the same time. [They do] How about that! Mr. Galileo was correct in his findings.” As the video fades and the lights come up, a pair of lutes perform a ricercar composed by Vincenzo Galilei. And then the story begins ... The year is 1583. It is August – a hot summer’s day in the northern Italian city of Florence. A young university student, home for summer vacation, is taking a walk through his favorite city. All morning he has been playing lute duets with his father Vincenzo, a noted lute player and composer. But now in the mid-afternoon heat he is more than happy to be outside. He strolls along the river Arno, crosses it at the Ponte Alle Grazie, and heads towards the center of the city. When he reaches the Piazza della Signoria though, he finds himself surprised by an afternoon thunderstorm. Sheltering beneath a covered gallery of a nearby palazzo he waits there for the storm to pass. As the storm rages our student sees something he has never noticed

before. The hailstones falling in the piazza are not all the same size. Some are small. Others are large. But since the storm began, both small and large hailstones have been falling together, and hitting the ground simultaneously. He’s puzzled by this, because all year long his professors at the university have been teaching that the speed of a falling object depends solely on its weight – that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones. But now, watching the hailstones he wonders. If this is true shouldn’t he be seeing all the large hailstones falling first, and then all the small ones? His professors at the University seem comfortable with things as they are. But he is no longer quite so sure ...

It is now 1604. Twenty one years have passed since that afternoon storm, but in all this time Galileo has not forgotten what he saw in the Piazza della Signoria. Now chair of the mathematics department at the University of Padua, he is still consumed by the desire to understand the motion of falling bodies. As he sees it, there is nothing more essential and more profound in all of nature than how objects move. This is what he desperately wants to know: How an arrow flies from the bowstring. How a hailstone falls from the sky. Even how the planets in the heavens make their celestial rounds. But most importantly, he wants to be able to describe that motion precisely – with mathematics. But how will he get there? How will he do this? Correctly reasoning that rolling is a form of falling, and that with a slowed descent he will be able to observe the acceleration of a descending object, Galileo constructs a gently inclined plane. On this plane his chosen object, a metal ball, will be able to “ fall” more slowly towards the ground. Galileo is thrilled with his ingenuity but quickly realizes that he has only partially solved his problem. Why? Because he still has no way to accurately measure the increasing speed at which the ball descends. He can see the acceleration but he can’t yet measure it.

Teachers examining inclined plane at Hofstra’s IDEAS Institute. Benjamin Wolff in background.

As he mulls over this problem he again goes to his lute – now it is his inspiration, his favorite muse. He gazes at its fingerboard. He admires the wonderful patterns of horizontal strings and vertical frets. And then, bit by bit, the solution begins to come to him. He will

treat his inclined plane just like the fingerboard of a lute and attach a similar series of moveable frets. As the rolling ball passes over each fret it will hop ever so slightly, and then make an audible “click” as it falls back to the surface of the plane. However, instead of placing the frets on his plane an equal distance from one another, he will move the frets further and further apart – just like the frets on a lute. How far apart will he move them? Well, his musician’s ear will guide him. He will roll ball after ball and, listening carefully, adjust the spacing of the frets after each roll so that the clicks made by the accelerating ball will be even and steady as the ball accelerates down the plane. An accomplished lute player and trained musician, Galileo knows that he can keep a steady beat. He has been cultivating this rhythmic skill since he was a child taking music lessons from his father. Back then, of course, he never would have imagined it, but that skill, that ability to keep a steady beat will now make it possible for him to determine precisely the properties of acceleration. Previously he could only see that the ball speeds up, but now, thanks to his frets, he can tell that it gets faster gradually and continuously. By adding frets to his inclined plane Galileo has found an ingenious way to divide continuous time into distinct units. And this is what he finds: From the time the ball is released until it passes over the first fret it travels a certain distance. When it reaches the second fret he finds that it has traveled four times as far. By the time he hears it passing the third fret it has gone nine times the distance. At the fourth fret it has traveled sixteen

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inspired me to make the connection between this important Lean principle and Galileo’s observing that his lute and a sense of rhythm could solve a problem of measurement.

Inclined plane with placed frets. View from bottom to top.

times as far. When it reaches the fi fth fret it has gone 25 times as far. And at the sixth fret he finds that it has gone exactly 36 times the distance. Galileo no longer has any doubt about it. The acceleration of an object falling freely is continuous and the rate of that acceleration is constant. The distance from fall is always proportional to the square of the elapsed time. He smiles. So this is the sound of success. These even clicks of a metal ball rolling over thin gut frets. It is truly music to his ears ... Narration from Galileo’s Muse, 2009

Audience Response and Future Plans Galileo’s Muse was first performed in summer 2007. In 2008 it was presented at CUNY’s Science and the Arts series, at Salisbury University, and at Hofstra’s Institute for the Development of Education in the Advanced Sciences (IDEAS). Most recently, I’ve performed it at the Association for Manufacturing


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Side view of inclined plane as ball passes over a fret.

Excellence (AME) 2009 National Conference, and at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in a special collaboration with Dr. Don Pettit, NASA astronaut and a wonderfully Galileo-like inventor himself. Initially, I anticipated that interest in and support for this interdisciplinary project would come, naturally, from two primary groups – arts organizations, presenting this performance as a way to reach new audiences; and the scientific community, as a model for how other disciplines can communicate basic scientific principles in an engaging manner. But reaction and responses from audiences have also provided me with unexpected ideas for future applications: As an elegant and historical example of “Gemba,” a Japanese term used in Lean manufacturing (originally from the Toyota Production System) to describe the process of using all of one’s senses to investigate problems. It was practitioners at the AME who

As a way for students and teachers to experience the pathways of innovative thinking. Galileo’s Muse demonstrates creativity in real time – inviting an audience to enter Galileo’s mind, to join his creative process, to see what he saw, to hear what he heard, even to feel what he felt. At an October 2008 performance at Hofstra’s IDEAS Institute, it was tremendously rewarding to observe the many science teachers who joined the performers on the stage after the show. They handled the lutes, felt the frets under their fingers, and even rolled a few balls down the inclined plane, perhaps imagining themselves in Galileo’s workshop 400 years ago.

Reflections Galileo observed hailstones falling in the piazza and wondered how they fell. He looked with fresh eyes at the familiar gut frets tied to the fingerboard of his lute and thought of putting them to a completely new purpose. He trusted his internal sense of rhythm when confronted by the limitations of the machines of his day. The genius of Galileo, I believe, was the way he lived his life with a truly open mind. And that is an attitude, an approach to living that all of us can emulate. Whether we are students or teachers, scientists, artists, or pursuing our dreams in other areas – the ability to look for, and find insight in, the most common things is our creative birthright. All we need to do is open our eyes, open our ears and, most importantly, open our minds.

References: Crease, R. (2004). The Prism and The Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science. New York: Random House, Inc. Drake, S. (1975). The Role of Music in Galileo’s Experiments. Scientific American (232: June 1975).

Drake, S. (1978). Galileo at Work: His Scientific Biography. New York: Dover Publications. Drake, S. (1989). History of Free Fall: Aristotle to Galileo. Toronto, Canada: Wall & Thompson. Hawking, S. (2002). Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences [Galileo Galilei. Edited, with Commentary, by Stephen Hawking]. Philadelphia: Running Press Books.

Isacoff, S. (2003) Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization. New York: Random House, Inc. Palisca, C. (1980) Vincenzo Galilei, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Volume 7, 96-98, London, UK: MacMillan.

Benjamin Wolff has been an adjunct assistant professor of music at Hofstra and a member of the Hofstra String Quartet since 1998. He is a professional cellist, performing regularly with renowned New York ensembles such as Sinfonia New York and Concert Royal. As one of the first participants in a double degree program established by The Juilliard School and Columbia University, he studied cello and chamber music with Joel Krosnick and The Juilliard String Quartet, and graduated with a B.A. in history from Columbia College. From 1993 to 1995, he was a fellow at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center, and was awarded its C.D. Jackson Prize for Excellence in 1994. He earned an M.M. from Rice University as a student of Norman Fischer. In addition to his work as a performing musician, Professor Wolff is deeply committed to broadening the important connections between the worlds of the arts, sciences, and business. In 1997 he co-founded the Foothills Music Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. For nine years he led the festival as cellist and co-artistic director as it presented a celebrated series of summer performances, lectures, and symposia at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the Southeast Center for Contemporary Art. His experience with interdisciplinary learning and thinking has led him to speak on subjects ranging from creativity to teamwork. A recent presentation he delivered at the 18th international conference of the Center for Collaborative Organizations was titled “The Art of Benjamin Teams: Lessons in Self Direction From the World of the Arts.” In June and October 2008 he Wolff spoke at the Association for Manufacturing Excellence conferences in San Diego and Toronto with a presentation titled “The Paradox of Creativity: How a Classical String Quartet Uses a LEAN Strategy to Get From Rehearsal to Performance.” In April 2009 he was the keynote speaker at the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Galileo’s Muse has been presented as part of the CUNY Graduate Center’s Science and the Arts series, Hofstra’s IDEAS Institute, Salisbury University in Maryland, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s 2009 national conference, and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. More information on Galileo’s Muse can be found at galileosmuse.com. Benjamin Wolff can be reached via e-mail at Benjamin.A.Wolff@hofstra.edu.

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1 Photo from White House Web site, May 13, 2009

Meena Bose, Professor of Political Science and Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies


he historic election of Barack Obama to the White House on November 4, 2008, raised the possibility of a presidency comparable at the outset to the exceptional early days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). Both men took office at a time of economic crisis for the United States, albeit much greater in scale in the early 1930s during the Great Depression. Both FDR and Obama were elected with healthy party majorities in both chambers of Congress, and both quickly developed ambitious policy


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agendas. Two weeks after Obama’s victory, Time magazine published a cover photo of the president-elect as a modern-day FDR (seated at the wheel of a 1930s-style automobile with glasses and a cigarette holder), with the title “The New New Deal: What Barack Obama Can Learn from F.D.R. – and What the Democrats Need to Do.” 2 This article compares Obama’s early leadership with FDR’s, focusing on their respective political systems, public communications, and policy enactments. Differences between the two presidents, as well as their political

circumstances, point to the need for caution in such an assessment. The financial system was in such disarray when FDR took office that many Americans questioned whether democracy would endure, paving the way for strong executive leadership and governmental action. The accomplishments of FDR’s whirlwind first hundred days in 1933 established a benchmark that his successors have tried to approximate, all the while recognizing that it will not be attained. (A recent analysis of modern presidential leadership in the first 100 days of an administration finds that

“Presidents live inescapably in FDR’s shadow.” 3) Nevertheless, while he did not achieve (or aspire to achieve) the major policy enactments of FDR’s first hundred days, Obama demonstrated a solid start to his presidency during his first three months in office by following through on campaign promises in his public communications and policy agenda.

Understanding the Political Context Comparing the election results and economic indicators in 1932 and 2008 illustrates the contextual constraints and opportunities that FDR and Obama faced upon taking office. The 1932 presidential race is viewed as a realigning election – that is, one in which a longtime coalition of voters made a significant and enduring shift in party affiliation, in this case from Republican to Democrat.4 This electoral realignment took place in legislative races as well, giving the president an opportunity to lead with his party in control of both chambers of Congress. Obama also entered office with a majority of the popular vote and a solid Democratic majority in Congress, but weakening party ties as well as political circumstances complicated his efforts to exercise vigorous leadership at the outset.

The Democrats fared exceptionally well in Congress, too, winning nearly 100 seats in the House, to cement their control there, and a dozen seats in the Senate, resulting in a majority in that chamber as well.6 The severity of the Great Depression also propelled FDR into a leadership role from the start of his presidency. Approximately one-quarter of the work force was unemployed when he took office; two years earlier, nearly 100,000 Americans had responded to an advertisement for employment in the Soviet Union.7 The stock market had dropped 75 percent since 1929, banks had closed in most states, and the New York Stock Exchange halted trading in securities just hours before FDR’s inauguration on March 4, 1933.8 The president, Congress, and the

American public were well aware that the conditions were ripe for executive action.

Obama Like FDR, Obama won election with a majority of the popular vote, 53 percent, with about 12 million more ballots than his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona. Obama also won a clear victory in the Electoral College, with 365 votes to 173 for McCain, though in number of states, the two were not far apart, with 28 for Obama and 22 for McCain. In addition to winning the White House, the Democrats also kept control of Congress, winning 24 more seats in the House and eight more seats in the Senate (plus an additional seat with Senator Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party in spring 2009).9

Photo from fdrlibrary.marist.edu

FDR FDR overwhelmingly defeated his opponent, incumbent President Herbert Hoover, in the 1932 election, winning 42 states and 472 votes in the Electoral College, compared to just six states and 59 electoral votes for Hoover. FDR also won 57 percent of the popular vote, with about seven million more ballots than Hoover, and he was the fi rst Democrat since Franklin Pierce in 1852 to win a majority of the popular vote. 5

The severity of the times is evident in the faces of outgoing President Hoover and incoming President Franklin D. Roosevelt as they ride together to the inauguration ceremony on March 4, 1933.

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The economic situation in late 2008 was not nearly as dire as in 1932, but it did prompt momentum for executive leadership and action. Unemployment rose from about 5 percent at the start of the recession in December 2007 to more than 7.5 percent in January 2009 (and nearly doubled from late 2007 to almost 10 percent by the fall).10 Between October 2007 and October 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined in value by nearly 50 percent, dipping from a high above 14,000 to under 8,000.11 Failures of major financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers and the need for a government bailout package to assist troubled banks further heightened concerns about the nation’s long-term fi nancial health.

Communicating Policy Initiatives In addressing the American public in a time of crisis, both FDR and Obama rank highly among American presidents for their communication skills. FDR excelled at inspiring confidence, exuding energy, and explaining policies clearly and concisely. Obama came to national attention because of his ability to inspire, when he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. While his presidential rhetoric has not achieved the renown of his earlier speeches (such as the March 2008 speech on race in Philadelphia), Obama has identified his policy priorities consistently and forcefully. A key difference in the two presidents’ public communications is FDR’s willingness to propose expanded executive power to achieve goals, a proposal that likely would not be well-received today.

FDR FDR’s first inaugural address surely ranks among the top 10 great speeches


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by U.S. presidents in the 20th century. At a time when many Americans were questioning the nation’s very survival, the new president began his first speech to the country with the optimistic and ringing declaration that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” 12 After asserting his faith in the strength of the American republic, FDR excoriated the group he deemed most responsible for the crisis, the financial community, with his warning that “The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.” 13 While both of these statements are referenced frequently, the section of the speech that garnered the most applause at the time is less well known. Toward the end of his address, FDR said he would seek enactment of legislation to combat the economic crisis. But if Congress did not comply, FDR promised that he would not hesitate to ask for “broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency as great as the power that would be given me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” 14 The president’s willingness to suggest this possibility, and the crowd’s enthusiastic response, indicates a trust in presidential leadership to pursue the national interest that is far less evident today. To communicate his policy objectives, FDR used both formal speeches and informal conversations with the American public known as his famous “fireside chats.” While he used this technique sparingly – about 30 times in 12 years – he did so twice during his first hundred days in office. In his first fireside chat, delivered just eight days into his presidency in 1933, FDR explained why he had ordered a

national bank holiday, saying “this was the first step in the Government’s reconstruction of our financial and economic fabric.” 15 He went on to praise Congress for passing legislation “promptly and patriotically” 16 to facilitate the reopening of the banks, explicitly recognizing Democrats and Republicans for their bipartisan governance. A few weeks later, FDR gave a second address on his New Deal programs, beginning with the poignant statement that “Two months ago we were facing serious problems. The country was dying by inches.” 17 He then explained recently adopted policies, and he explicitly noted that Congress had given the president authority to pursue certain objectives. The president assured the public that this was “constitutional and in keeping with the past American tradition.” 18 In each of his early public communications, FDR succeeded in building support for his policies through clarity and simplicity of language as well as justification of executive authority.

Obama Like FDR, Obama is a gifted orator whose speeches have contributed to his political success. Indeed, Obama’s rise to the presidency began with the keynote address that he delivered at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, in which he emphasized the values that unite Americans and cross partisan and racial/ethnic identities.19 At the time he gave this speech, Obama was a state senator running for a U.S. Senate seat in Illinois – that a state legislator could become a national figure based in large measure on a compelling speech illustrates the power of his words. Unlike FDR, though, Obama is not a speaker who excels at short, memorable

snippets; his ideas typically take longer to present and are thus difficult to excerpt concisely. Nevertheless, Obama’s clarity of expression parallels FDR’s, and while the current president’s speeches do not contain FDR-style pithy lines (which also are the hallmark of speeches from other noted presidential communicators such as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan), they do illustrate a consistent political vision that has guided his early policy making. In his presidential campaign, the speech that put his Democratic opponents on notice about the seriousness of his candidacy was Obama’s address at the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson dinner in November 2007. Speaking toward the end of a long evening, Obama invigorated the crowd of Democratic activists with his blunt statement that the United States was at a crossroads. As he put it: We are in a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels as if it’s slowly slipping away. We are working harder for less. We’ve never paid more for health care or for college. It’s harder to save and it’s harder to retire. And most of all we’ve lost faith that our leaders can or will do anything about it. I am running in this race because of what Dr. King called ‘the fierce urgency of now.’ Because I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost upon us.20 Obama identified his policy priorities – foreign affairs, environmental policy, economic strength, health care, education – and made clear why he was in this race, despite his limited national political experience. His victory one year later represented (at least partly) public support for this agenda and for

President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress, September 9, 2009. (Photo from White House Web site)

changing the American political process. In his inaugural address, Obama began with the same confidence as FDR, stating that “The challenges we face are real. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.” 21 He promised to rework Washington politics and end “the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.” 22 While he gave a muted critique of his predecessor, saying, “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” 23 he did not dwell on political differences, focusing instead on how Americans should enter “a new era of responsibility.” 24 In his first address to Congress the following month, Obama similarly spread criticism for the nation’s economic crisis broadly, identifying

weaknesses in both the government and the American people. As he explained, “The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight. And though all these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before.” 25 He went on to say, “that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.” 26 Consistent with his previous speeches, Obama declared that strengthening the economy required a commitment to “jumpstart job creation, re-start lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down.” 27 Just as FDR’s public narrative emphasized both immediate and long-term priorities (and spending) to preserve the American republic, so, too, has Obama endorsed quick action along with large-scale reforms for continued prosperity.

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Turning Promises Into Policies The ambitious programs that FDR and Obama proposed in their early rhetoric were by no means assured of speedy enactment and implementation. While FDR’s legislative successes in his first hundred days were important, many of his more lasting achievements, such as Social Security, were created later in his administration. The political environment that President Obama must navigate is far more complex than FDR’s, particularly given the constant scrutiny that the 24-hour news cycle imposes on the president today, making the 100-day benchmark for comparison seem premature. Still, an evaluation of how Obama’s first hundred days stand up to FDR’s presents some indicators of the strengths and challenges of the current administration.

FDR When the special session of the 73rd Congress concluded in mid-June 1933, FDR’s legislative accomplishments included more than a dozen major initiatives. Among the programs and agencies created were the Civilian Conservation Corps, which employed approximately 250,000 young men in public works projects, primarily to promote conservation of natural resources; the Tennessee Valley Authority, which brought electricity, flood control, and other modernization measures to seven southern states; and the Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation, which guaranteed bank deposits up to a certain amount.28 Parts of some laws, such as the National Industrial Recovery Act, were later overturned by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, and some scholars have questioned whether the Hundred Days enactments were effective in combating the Great Depression.29


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While the cumulative effect of these programs may be difficult to pinpoint definitively, FDR’s vigor and confidence in promoting them clearly boosted public morale and established the foundation for an activist federal government in both economic and social policy.

Obama The White House Web site lists seven laws signed by President Obama in his first hundred days in office, about half the number signed by FDR in the same period.30 Among the laws passed are the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expands the time period for people to fight pay discrimination in court; the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, popularly known as the stimulus package, which provided nearly $800 billion in federal funds to promote economic recovery; and the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which increases protections for credit card holders. While the Obama administration’s major initiatives, such as health care reform, are still under negotiation, the first hundred days illustrate steady, incremental progress toward clearly established goals.31

today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.” 32 A full appraisal of Obama’s first hundred days, then, depends upon the longer-term consequences of his early policies. 33 For now, the Obama presidency has communicated its plans clearly, followed through on campaign promises, and steadfastly pursued its policy priorities. Given public expectations and political realities, those accomplishments are significant – though they will matter little if those plans and priorities do not become policy.

Endnotes 1


Conclusion The first hundred days of FDR’s presidency marked the onset of a greatly expanded role for the federal government in public affairs, with increased responsibilities in financial regulation, care for the poor and elderly, workers’ rights, education, and many other areas. In 2009 the size of the federal government is a common conservative rallying cry, but returning to the pre-FDR era would be virtually impossible. As Obama said in his inaugural address, “The question we ask



This article is based in part on the Distinguished Faculty Lecture that I gave at Hofstra on April 29, 2009 (the 100th day of the Obama administration), titled “Looking for Change: Evaluating the Early Leadership of the Obama Administration.” It also draws upon an Elderhostel course that I developed and taught at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, New York, titled “Another Hundred Days in American Politics? An Early Appraisal of the Obama Administration.” My thanks to the audiences at both lectures for their helpful comments and questions. Peter Beinart, “The New New Deal – What Barack Obama Can Learn from F.D.R. – And What the Democrats Need to Do,” Time, November 24, 2008. On the cover, the fi rst “New” is in red, with the rest of the title in white, and italics are used here to note the difference. Article available at http://www. time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20081124,00. html. Terry Sullivan, “Presidential Work During the First Hundred Days: Distinctiveness, Engagement, Operations, and Effectiveness,” White House Transition Project Reports #2009-04, 2008, p. 5. Full report available at http://whitehousetransitionproject.org. For an analysis of how FDR’s “Hundred Days” legislation compares to other presidents’ early leadership, see John Frendreis, Raymond Tatalovich, and Jon Schaff, “Predicting Legislative Output in the First One-Hundred Days, 1897-1995,” Political Research Quarterly 54, no. 4 (December 2001): 853-870. For a discussion of political realignments in American politics, see James L. Sundquist, Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and

Realignment of Political Parties in the United States, rev. ed. (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1983). 5 Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006), 134. 6 Election data for the presidential race is available in Joseph Nathan Kane, Presidential Fact Book (New York: Random House, 1998). For congressional election results, see the U.S. House of Representatives’ Office of the Clerk Web site at http://clerk.house.gov/ art_history/house_history/partyDiv.html, and the U.S. Senate Web site at http://www. senate.gov/pagelayout/history/one_item_ and_teasers/partydiv.html. 7 Henry F. Graff, ed., The Presidents: A Reference History, 2d ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996), 425-28. 8 Alter, The Defining Moment, 148, 203, 212. 9 Congressional results for 2008 are in the Web sites cited in note 6. The 2008 presidential election results are available through The New York Times Web site at http://elections. nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map. html. 10 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release USDL 09-1180, “The Employment Situation – September 2009,” October 2, 2009. Available at http://www.bls. gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf. 11 Historical information on the Dow Jones Industrial Average is available at http:// fi nance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=^DJI&a=09&b=1 1&c=2007&d=09&e=10&f=2008&g=w 12 Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933. Available at http://

www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ fdrfi rstinaugural.html. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid. On public applause for this statement, see Alter, The Defining Moment, 218-19. 15 Franklin D. Roosevelt, “On the Bank Crisis,” March 12, 1933. Available at http://docs. fdrlibrary.marist.edu/fi resi90.html. 16 Ibid. 17 Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Outlining the New Deal Program,” May 7, 1933. Available at http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/fi resi90. html. 18 Ibid. 19 Barack Obama, “2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address,” Boston, July 27, 2004. Available at http://www. americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ convention2004/barackobama2004dnc.htm. 20 Remarks of Senator Barack Obama, Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, November 10, 2007. http://www.barackobama. com/2007/11/10/remarks_of_senator_ barack_obam_33.php. 21 Barack Obama, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009. Available at http://www.nytimes. com/ 2009/01/20/us/politics/20text-obama. html. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid. 25 Remarks of President Barack Obama, Address to joint session of Congress, February 24, 2009. Available at http://www. whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/remarks-ofpresident-barack-obama-address-to-jointsession-of-congress/.

26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 Details

on FDR’s Hundred Days initiatives are in Alter, The Defining Moment. Also see http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma02/volpe/ newdeal/hundred_days.html. 29 See, for example, Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (New York: Harper Perennial, 2008). 30 See the White House Web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/. 31 President Obama made clear his determination to enact health care reform this year with a second prime-time address to a joint session of Congress on September 9, 2009. In some respects, the speech evoked John F. Kennedy’s second address to Congress in 1961, in which he called for sending a man to the moon by the end of the decade. See Meena Bose, “Legislative Skills Make the Legacy,” Newsday, September 11, 2009. 32 Barack Obama, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009. Available at http://www. nytimes.com/2009/01/20/us/politics/20textobama.html. 33 An editorial in the Wall Street Journal on President Obama’s hundredth day in office viewed the long-term prospects for his policies skeptically. As it stated, “Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies. For now, we are living in another era of unchecked liberal government. The reckoning will come when Americans discover how much it costs.” See Editorial, “The Liberal Hour,” Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2009.

Meena Bose is professor of political science and the Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies at Hofstra University, as well as director of Hofstra’s Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency. She is the author of Shaping and Signaling Presidential Policy: The National Security Decision Making of Eisenhower and Kennedy (1998) and editor of the reference volume The New York Times on the Presidency (2009). She also is co-editor of several volumes on presidency studies and a reader in American politics.

Meena Bose

Dr. Bose has designed and taught courses for Elderhostel, and she was scholar-inresidence for a nonpartisan course sponsored by The Washington Center in connection with the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Her current research focuses on presidential leadership in the United Nations. She taught for six years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she also served as director of American politics in 2006. Dr. Bose previously taught at Hofstra University from 1996 to 2000. Long Island Business News selected her as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” leaders on Long Island in 2009.

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Figure 1. In Mali, West Africa, recycling is a large part of the local economy and nothing goes to waste, as illustrated by the deconstructed cans.

Innovation, Here, There and Everywhere:

Developing Appropriate Technology to Improve Quality of Life and Retain Cultural Diversity Ann Feuerbach, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology Introduction


hat would life be like without choices? What if we had only one type of food, music, art, or religion to choose from? What if there was only one right way to think or act? While this sounds like the stuff of nightmares or a seriously oppressed country, it is what globalization is creating. This might be a bit of an exaggeration, but despite the growing number of products and


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services on the market, how many of them are unique or truly different? Take, for example, the typical American breakfast cereal. How many varieties of cereal are available in any typical American supermarket? There may be a hundred different varieties, but fundamentally, they are really very similar. They are grain based and are shaped to fit on a spoon. If you have traveled abroad, one of the first things you might notice is that cereal is not a universal breakfast food. In Germany, you might find a variety of cold sandwich meats and cheeses, while in

Photo by Ann Feuerbach

Vietnam a spicy beef soup would be on the menu. None of these breakfast foods are fundamentally “right” or “wrong” – just different. What we consider to be “correct” breakfast foods depends on our culture, not our biology. So while we may sometimes think we have a variety of choices, when viewed from a multicultural perspective, we soon find that we do not have as many as we might like to think we have. What will happen if one product or way of doing things becomes the universally acceptable norm?

Cultural Diversity, Technology and Innovation Our culture not only affects what we eat, but also what we invent, which policies we implement, and which rules we enforce. Culture shapes our knowledge base, our ways of thinking, and our perception of the natural and manmade world. Technology, like culture, is holistic; all the parts are inseparable and co-dependent. Technology provides us with the resources to control our environment, and it helps us understand and explain the world in which we live. Technology is not only the physical process of changing raw materials into a finished product; it originates from, and propagates through, the beliefs and behaviors of people. Not all technology is universally beneficial. When a new technology is introduced into a culture, it produces a ripple effect that can disrupt the environment and the culture’s longestablished social and cultural

equilibrium. Some of these effects are immediate and apparent, such as the impact on the natural environment, while other effects take years to manifest. It is these less obvious, indirect consequences that can be the most damaging. The reduction of traditional technologies and products are often observed early on, and are soon followed by the loss of knowledge. While gaining new knowledge is generally beneficial, the loss of traditional knowledge, though inexcusable, is avoidable. To lose native and indigenous knowledge is to lose cultural diversity. It is imperative that we strive to promote cultural diversity because it increases our quality of life by enriching our world on an everyday basis. Diversity gives us variety of cuisines, music, clothing and art styles. Cultural diversity also provides the inspiration for new products and technologies. Perhaps most importantly, cultural diversity offers us different perspectives and alternative ways to

Photo by Ann Feuerbach

Figure 2. Dumpsters and cars are broken down by hand.

think about the world, the natural environment and human situations. This knowledge was gained through life experiences over tens of thousands of years in response to a multitude of situations, including developing ways to deal with everyday and extraordinary conditions such as maintaining health, preventing sickness, minimizing conflict, dealing with disasters, managing natural resources, devising economic policies, and conceiving methods of social control, to name a few. The tragic fact is that once diversity and indigenous knowledge are lost, they are lost forever.

Soft, Hard and Appropriate Technology Technological and cultural change is inevitable and an important part of what makes us human. Technology has two inseparable aspects: a “hard” or tangible aspect, which corresponds to the equipment and the physical products, and the “soft” or intangible aspects corresponding to the associated ideas and practices that always accompany the “hard“ technology. Hard technologies include the physical and chemical changes that take place during the innovation, production, distribution, consumption, and elimination of a product and the accompanying byproducts, such as pollution, associated with each phase. Soft technology includes the theories, beliefs, policies, and services associated with every aspect of a product. This includes research and development, human and natural resource management, business and economic policies, legislation and consumer issues. There is an inseparable reciprocal relationship between the hard and soft aspects of technology,

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Figure 3: Hofstra students watch the recycled steel being turned into useful products using nonindustrial methods.

Photo by Ann Feuerbach

and when one changes, the other changes as well. Since technology has both physical and ideological components, technological change is inseparable from cultural change. New hard and soft technologies develop out of previous ones, and we are indebted to our technological and cultural heritage for giving us the foundation upon which we build our current society and all the things in it. Indeed, future societies will be founded on those used today. Technology also changes what people perceive as “value,” and this influences the direction of research, government and economic policies, in addition to an individual’s behavior. The growing number of sustainable, “green,” and cradle-to-grave initiatives are testament to this fact. Today, the technologies (products and ideologies) of so-called “developed nations” are being imposed onto emerging and developing countries, rather than integrating them into the existing culture. This is causing a


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“Westernization” of the world, and includes an increasing prevalence of “Western” technologies and the accompanying products and ideas. As a consequence, this Westernization of the world is annihilating the tangible and intangible heritage of native and indigenous cultures, and is thus creating a decrease in the overall cultural diversity of the world. The rapid loss of cultural heritage is such an important issue that in 2007 UNESCO began initiatives to preserve intangible as well as tangible cultural heritage. Furthermore, the loss of cultural heritage is linked to the loss of an individual’s identity. Loss of identity has been linked to an increase in mental illness (Mossakowski, 2003), violence (Nolte, 2004), and drug abuse (Bhattacharya, 1998). If we want to develop new products and policies that increase our own quality of life and that of people locally and abroad, we need to educate our future leaders about the influence that our own culture, and that of others, has on innovation, creativity, knowledge and

behaviors. In order to do this, we must teach our students, and the greater Hofstra community, about appropriate technology principles. Appropriate technology goes a step beyond environmental and economic sustainability by striving to improve people’s quality of life now, as well as in the near and distant future. Appropriate technology seeks to create a balance between technology, the environment, and the needs of the intended community. It typically requires fewer resources, is easier to maintain, has a lower overall cost and less of an impact on the environment, and endeavors to retain tangible and intangible cultural heritage and diversity. It is a holistic approach, which takes into account not only the natural environment, but also the social, cultural, and economic needs of the people for the purpose of developing new products, policies and services that are a better “fit” for the target community, locally and abroad (Figures 1-5).

An Example: Good Intentions, Bad Implementations

at the expense of the environment and/ or people.

Newspapers and journals are not short on presenting methods used by organizations, businesses, governments, and agencies to introduce new technologies and business practices into developing, emerging, transitioning, and non-industrial societies. While sometimes the motive for entering these markets is solely monetary profit, other times it is purely humanitarian. No matter what the goal, the objective remains the same: to successfully introduce something new into the community to meet a need. However, while they may be successful in reaching their objectives, history testifies to the fact that too often it is

For example, in Moyo’s recent book Dead Aid, the author presents a case study of an African mosquito net maker (Moyo, 2009, 44-45). There was a local entrepreneur who started a business and created about 500 nets a week. He employed 10 local people, who used this income to support 15 relatives. In a humanitarian effort to reduce malaria in Africa, a Hollywood celebrity persuaded Western governments to send 100,000 nets at a cost of a $1 million (Moyo, 2009). The nets reached the location, and instances of malaria declined, thus the short-term objective was reached. However, the goal of helping to slow cases of malaria

Figure 4

ceased in the longer term because the “technology,” in the form of the production and distribution methods, was inappropriate. Within five years, the mosquito nets were no longer effective. New nets could not be acquired locally because the influx of foreign-produced nets destroyed the native African’s mosquito net business. Thus, not only did cases of malaria rise once again, but in addition, the entrepreneur was no longer in business, his workers were now unemployed, and the 150 relatives who the business indirectly supported once again felt hardship. However, if appropriate technology principles were applied, perhaps only a fraction of the million dollars would

Figure 5

Photos by Ann Feuerbach Figures 4 and 5: Tourism in Mali applies appropriate technology principles by offering visitors the unique opportunity to watch and participate in traditional arts and crafts. Not only does this sustainable practice help the local economy by providing jobs for native artisans and shopkeepers, but it also preserves cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge. In Figure 4, Hofstra students are getting a lesson in dyeing using traditional methods and materials. In Figure 5, traditional music and dances are being kept alive by performing them for visitors. However, rather than being just a “show,“ it is a local dance lesson. The men in blue are native dance teachers who critique each student's (on stilts) performance. Note the young students intently watching from the rocks behind. This keeps the indigenous knowledge and native traditions alive while entertaining tourists with authentic performances.

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technological advancement and economic growth, with the needs of the environment, and the social and cultural needs of the community.

“We envision creating a ‘classroom of the future,’ which would be a multidisciplinary environment ... ”

have been needed to grow the local business. The business could then have been used as a successful model to set up other mosquito net makers elsewhere in Africa. The natives would have had a renewable supply of nets, in addition to assisting the growth of the local economy. The short-term objectives would still have been reached, but the result could have been an increase in the quality of life and self-reliance, for a greater number of people, over a longer period of time. This is just one case study out of thousands that illustrates how the introduction of inappropriate technologies can be horribly detrimental to the community in the long term, despite how noble the original intentions. It is imperative that the Hofstra community works together to create an environment that facilitates the development of appropriate technologies that balance the need for


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Our Goal Our goal is to develop a Consortium for Appropriate Technology (CAT) to enhance students’ Hofstra experience, while providing an environment and opportunities where we can create more appropriate products and services. The CAT will consist of a real and virtual social networks of like-minded individuals and organizations, as well as a physical space in which to undertake CAT research and projects, and hold activities and events. It will also be a place where students can go out of class time to explore other interests and gain exposure to different cultures, technologies, and academic disciplines, many of which they would not otherwise have the opportunity to discover. The CAT will promote and foster multidisciplinary collaborations and “real-world“ experiences, while encouraging creativity and increasing cultural awareness and acumen, within and outside the Hofstra community. The CAT will be the first consortium of its kind and promises to become a model for other universities to emulate. We have begun by creating a collaboration between the Anthropology Department and the Engineering Department, with affiliates in the Zarb School of Business and Fine Arts Department. This alliance will enrich students’ education by offering experiences that have the real potential to increase the quality of life for many communities, locally and abroad. All departments, organizations, and individuals are welcome and encouraged to join us.

The idea began in March 2009, during the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) Conference in Washington, D.C. The purpose of NCIIA is to support technological innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education to create experiential learning opportunities for students and successful, socially beneficial businesses. I was there to present a paper on a new technique for facilitating innovation and creativity, and to learn about initiatives at other universities around the country. There were two aspects that really stood out. First, that in most instances, inventors, policy makers and businesspeople did not fully understand the short- and long-term direct and indirect effects and consequences of culture on the invention, production, distribution, and acceptance of new products and services into the target markets and communities. The lack of cultural awareness was a particular issue when developing new products and services for non-industrial, developing and emerging economies in places such as rural Africa, and intercity America. Second, it occurred to me that Hofstra University, with its strong undergraduate and graduate programs, dedicated faculty and alumni support, coupled with our diversity, “green” and sustainability initiatives, was perfectly suited for creating an environment that fosters the development of appropriate technology. We envision creating a “classroom of the future,” which would be a multidisciplinary environment where the Hofstra community can meet, share their own knowledge and experiences, and learn about different cultures, technologies, and ways of doing things. It would be an atmosphere that fosters

creativity, tolerance and diversity, and acts as a center in which to undertake appropriate technology activities. It would be loosely based on the University of Tulsa’s Studio Blue. Hofstra’s “classroom of the future” would consist of five activity zones. A high-tech zone containing computers and related high-tech equipment would be used to conduct research, create projects, and network with people and organizations within and outside of the Hofstra community. There would be an intermediate tech zone containing intermediate technology such as woodworking and metalworking equipment. These are available in many developing economies and would help students understand the level of technology available in these places, in addition to assisting their own appropriate technology creations. A low-tech zone would contain basic resources such as clay and paper. These materials would encourage creativity and help students better understand the benefits and limitations of these lower

cost materials. Next, there would be an activity zone, consisting of moveable desks and chairs, which would provide a space dedicated to undertaking lectures, group activities and ongoing projects. The final area would be a relaxation zone with items such as a TV, games, sofa, chairs, refrigerator, etc., to promote relaxation, foster creativity, and encourage the development of interdisciplinary and multicultural friendships and collaborations. We are currently seeking to acquire the necessary funds and supplies to create this “classroom of the future.” Please help us make this idea a reality.

References Bhattacharya, G. (1998). Drug use among Asian Indian adolescents: Identifying protective/risk factors. Adolescence, 33 (129), 169. Mossakowski, K. (2003). Coping with perceived discrimination: Does

ethnic identity protect mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 44 (3), 318-331. Moyo, D. (2009). Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. New York, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. http://nciia.org/ Nolte, I. (2004). Identity and violence: The politics of youth in Ijebu-Remo, Nigeria. Journal of Modern African Studies, 42 (1), 61–89. University of Tulsa, Studio Blue. www.stateofcreativity.com/index. php?id=76&uid=1984 UNESCO Cultural Heritage Initiative. http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ ev.php-URL_ID=34325&URL_ DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_ SECTION=201.html

Ann Feuerbach has always been fascinated with the creation of complex products from the simplest of earth's natural resources. After earning a B.A. with a dual major in anthropology and art history, and a minor in fine arts, from Hofstra University, she went on to earn an M.A. from New York University. She then completed a B.Sc. in archaeological conservation, an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in archaeological science at University College London, Institute of Archaeology. She also holds a certificate in marketing from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ann Feuerbach

In 2002 she received first prize from Minerva magazine for a paper on innovation in art and archaeology; in 2000 she won first prize in a Research Images as Art Competition; and in 1996 she was awarded first prize for best student paper by the Materials Research Society. In 2004 she joined the Hofstra faculty, and is currently adjunct assistant professor of anthropology. In addition, she runs her own business, AASTI LLC, which specializes in the relationship between people and products from two perspectives: by studying existing art and archaeological collections, and by helping businesses innovate and create new, more appropriate technologies.

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The Mathematics

Learning Community Project:

Placing Resources Where It Matters the Most Photo by Hofstra University Office of University Relations Staff

Blidi S. Stemn, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Teaching


he direction that mathematics education has been endeavoring to follow in the last decade has been influenced by many factors, including a mathematics curriculum and instructional practices that emphasize inquiry, building of problem-solving skills, and use of activities that require students to think critically (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000). This perspective is a departure from “traditional� mathematics teaching and learning in which the teacher is a depositor of knowledge while the


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students are recipients of neatly packaged mathematical knowledge to be memorized without questioning. These new directions promoted by mathematics education reformers require teachers to expand their content and pedagogical knowledge. This is particularly essential for elementary school teachers because they are required to teach all the core academic subjects (math, science, English language arts, and social studies). As a result, they may lack the necessary depth in mathematics content and pedagogy that would enable them to build their students’ proficiency in

mathematics. In addition to a profound knowledge and understanding of fundamental mathematics content (Ma, 1999), teachers need what Ball, Hill, and Bass (2005) refer to as mathematics knowledge for teaching. One way to support teachers in this direction is through carefully and thoughtfully designed ongoing professional development. My research and professional interests have focused on problem solving, professional development of teachers, and issues of social justice in mathematics education from a global

perspective. Throughout my professional career as a mathematics teacher educator, I have worked with classroom teachers and children, particularly in multicultural settings, collaborating to find ways to improve teaching and raise students’ achievement. This experience is invaluable, and it directly informs what I do in my mathematics methods courses for prospective teachers. The day-to-day issues I come across in the classroom as I work with teachers continue to influence the content of my preservice methods courses. I strongly believe that improving teaching and student achievement, particularly in low-achieving schools, is a social justice issue, and that I have a moral and professional responsibility to contribute to improving mathematics teaching and learning in my community.

District through the Teacher/Leader Quality Partnership (TLQP) initiative. This program, which is funded by a grant obtained from the New York State Education Department under the No Child Left Behind Act (Title II, Part A, Subpart 3), is administered by the Center for Educational Access and Success at Hofstra University. The aim of this initiative is to improve student achievement in mathematics and science by improving the quality of teachers and administrators in highneeds school districts. The TLQP program at Hofstra University provides professional development in mathematics, science and technology to elementary schools in the Hempstead and Roosevelt School Districts.

Since my arrival at Hofstra University, I have been working with classroom teachers in the Hempstead School

As the coordinator of the mathematics component of the TLQP program in the Hempstead School District, I have

Professional Development in the Hempstead School District

provided in- and out-of-class professional development for three elementary schools during the past three years. The program brought together a total of nine K-5 teachers from three schools in the district: two kindergarten teachers from the Early Childhood Center, four teachers from Jackson Main Elementary School (grades 3-5), and three from Jackson Annex Elementary School (grades 1-3). As the mathematics education specialist, I sought to create a Mathematics Learning Community (MLC) where teachers came together to study and improve their teaching. The process involved group planning of lessons, peer observations, post-lesson reflections and discussion involving all members of the MLC, and individual written reflections. During each lesson, attention was directed particularly toward the nature of the mathematical tasks in terms of the cognitive demands. Cognitive demand in this context means “the kind and level of

On December 11, 2007, Dr. Blidi S. Stemn visited Jackson Main Elementary School in Hempstead, where he demonstrated various math concepts to a fourth grade class.

Photo by Hofstra University Office of University Relations Staff

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thinking required of students in order to successfully engage with and solve the task” (Stein et al., 2009, p. 1). In addition, teachers’ questioning strategies, whether they were using open-ended or closed-ended questions, and how they engaged students in analyzing, discussing and solving problems became an object of study. The in-class component of the program occurred once a week, with teachers taking turns to teach while the rest of the MLC observed and took notes for the post-lesson reflection and discussions. Often the lessons were videotaped while the reflection sessions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Another important component of the professional development program was a once-a-month study group session held at Hofstra University. The teachers found this two-hour session valuable in that it allowed them to talk in-depth about their teaching. Furthermore, I engaged them in doing mathematics,


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hence challenging them to revisit their mathematical knowledge for teaching. For example, we were not simply interested in whether they could accurately compute 3 1/2 divided by 1/2, but whether they could explain what the expression meant and whether they could create a word problem that corresponded to the expression. Also, emphasis was placed on whether they could solve the problem using a concrete or a pictorial representation. Some of the ways I have tried to accomplish this include asking teachers to do mathematics and analyze videotapes of children doing mathematics, and bringing their own students’ work to the session for analysis and discussion. This yearlong, two-pronged approach to professional development is different from the one-shot meeting model. The MLC approach described in this essay provides opportunity for teachers to (1) learn from one another as they examine their teaching, (2) examine students’ thinking and learning, and (3) participate in productive collaboration.

Changes in Teacher Practice The instructional practices of the teachers who participated in the MLC model of professional development gradually shifted to include the use of concrete materials, problem-based tasks, questioning, and allowing students to explain their thinking both verbally and in writing. One of the teachers noted in her reflective journal that the two ideas she focused on in her teaching were questioning techniques and asking her students to explain their thinking in writing. “I realized that I needed to question the children more often to find out their level of understanding. Another idea that I walked away with is the importance of having the students write about what they learned. I have incorporated these two things in my daily lessons, and the students have no problem explaining in writing now.” An excerpt from a second grade teacher’s reflective journal is another

Dr. Stemn models a division problem using concrete materials to Jackson Main Elementary School’s fourth graders.

Photo by Hofstra University Office of University Relations Staff

indication of the impact the program made on the teachers’ practice. She said: I feel the TLQP Mathematics program has helped me much in reevaluating my teaching. I think the one big idea of the program was to accept that students come with prior knowledge in math and to use that to help them learn new concepts. Another big idea is to allow the students time to express what they know about the subject, as opposed to just teaching it cold. The impact it had on me was that I began to pay more attention to my questioning throughout my instruction instead of giving a set of rules to follow. I had gotten to the point in my teaching that I was trying to cover a lot of material in very limited time. This meant giving more step-by-step instructions for the students to follow. This has brought me back to good teaching practices of helping the students make meaning of the subject for themselves. I also have the students dialogue with each other instead of

working independently. This has helped the students become more engaged and interested in math. One of the fourth grade teachers who had been part of the program since its infancy found the sessions held at Hofstra University to be a valuable experience. She wrote, “I gained a deeper understanding of the math concepts, which enabled me to create better lessons.”

Students’ Learning Students’ learning was measured using a variety of methods. Their performance on the state test was compared to their peers with similar or stronger backgrounds, but who did not participate in the program. Also, their performance on the state test was compared to students’ performance from the previous year. The teachers used the latter data to find out if the reformed teaching method promoted by the program impacted students’

performance. I consider these measures informal since other variables that were not controlled initially may have contributed to students’ performance. However, we found that the fourth grade students who participated in the program had approximately 25 percent more students performing at levels 3 and 4 (4 being the highest) when compared to an advanced class that did not participate in the program. In one of the fourth grade classes, the students at levels 3 and 4 increased from 50 percent to 93 percent, with only two students at level 1, when compared with the students from the previous year with the same teacher. In fact, the principal asked, “Dr. Stemn, what did you do with Mr. Drew (pseudonym)? Because this is the fi rst time his class has had more than 40 percent of the students performing at level 3 since I became the principal of this school.” One can understandably argue that the methods used to measure students’ learning did not necessarily follow the

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Photo by Hofstra University Office of University Relations Staff

Fourth graders at Jackson Main Elementary School in Hempstead are solving division problems with help from Dr. Stemn.

conventional research methods. However, it is undeniable that there was gradual growth in the students’ learning and teacher instructional method. I was thrilled when a fourth grade student demonstrated to the rest of the class how 99 x 5 can be solved by multiplying 5 by the 9 in the ones place and recording the 45, and did the same thing with the 9 in the tens place. He organized the result horizontally as 4545 and then added the two middle digits and got 495 as his answer. This process tells a lot about what the child knows and was able to do in terms of number sense and computational fluency. Yes, this method works all the time. It is a horizontal organization of the traditional vertical method of multiplication. I strongly believe that if we teach mathematics for proficiency, students will do well on tests and learn mathematics with understanding. They come to realize that mathematics makes sense and that mathematical concepts are interconnected. As Hiebert (2009) reminds us, “teaching is a complex, intellectually demanding skill. It will


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improve only through the hard work and unrelenting work of teachers who study their practice and improve it over time” (p. ix). I believe that my role as a mathematics teacher educator is to provide a leadership role in collaborating with teachers over a sustained period of time.

Stemn Education and Research Project (SERP) The second major project that I have been working on is the Stemn Education and Research Project (SERP). The goals of SERP include, but are not limited to: 1. Assist in making high-quality primary and intermediate education accessible to all children. 2. Contribute to improving teacher quality through preservice and inservice programs. 3. Assist students with scholarship. 4. Build a model K-9 school that focuses on mathematics, science, and technology education with the hope of extending it to a full elementary and secondary school.

For the past two years, I have been providing instructional resources particularly in mathematics and science to schools in Maryland County, Liberia. This past winter, I spent three weeks providing professional development workshops for inservice teachers in the Harper School District. In addition to the six hours of mathematics workshop training, I worked with classroom teachers in three different schools, modeling and co-teaching lessons based on research on best practices. SERP also donated 150 microscopes and other mathematics and science materials to East Harper Elementary and Junior High School (K-9). My ultimate goal is to build a contemporary K-9 school with the plan to expand to a full high school outside of Harper City in Maryland County, Liberia. This model school will have mathematics, science and technology as the major focus. Currently, East Harper Elementary School is housed in a small building that was once occupied by The Group of 77, a program for physically disabled students. The program is now requesting that the building be returned. As a result of financial contributions from the faculty and students of Hofstra’s School of Education, Health and Human Services in the amount of $1,700, SERP was able to award scholarships to 30 students, which included the purchase of school uniforms and supplies for the 20092010 academic year. Also, some faculty members, staff and students donated school supplies. I chose to focus on this region because this is where I grew up and, since the area is not close to the capital city, Monrovia, the county as a whole is not benefiting from the resources put into education by the national government.

Liberia is emerging from one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars, which claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and displaced a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries. As a result of the 14 years of civil unrest, the country’s infrastructure, including school buildings, was destroyed. In addition to the work of SERP, I am exploring the possibility of Hofstra UniversityUniversity of Liberia relationships.

The Noyce Scholarship Program Another project I am involved with, along with my colleague in the Mathematics Department, Dr. Behailu Mammo, is the Noyce Scholarship Program for Mathematics Teaching at Hofstra University. The program is

funded by the National Science Foundation (award # 0934755) in the amount of $898,976 to run for four years. The grant will allow us to recruit and provide a total of 16 scholarships to undergraduate mathematics students, particularly those from underrepresented groups within Hofstra University and from community colleges, to major in mathematics and secondary school mathematics teaching at Hofstra University. Each student in the program would receive $20,000 a year for two years. For each year they receive the scholarship, they will have to teach in a high-needs middle or high school for two years. Hofstra is partnering with Hempstead, Westbury, Roosevelt, Brentwood, and Uniondale School Districts in implementing this grant.

References Ball, L., Hill, H., and Bass, H. Knowing mathematics for teaching. American Educator 29 (Fall 2005): 14-46. Hiebert, J. (2009). Foreword. In Stein, K., Smith, M., Henningsen, A., and Silver, E., Implementing Standards-Based Mathematics Instruction: A Casebook for Professional Development (3rd ed.), ix-xi. VA: NCTM Publication. Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000). Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

Blidi S. Stemn is an assistant professor of mathematics education in the Curriculum and Teaching Department, School of Education, Health and Human Services at Hofstra University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate mathematics education courses in the elementary education program. For the past three years, he has served as mathematics education specialist, working with a number of elementary schools in the Hempstead School District through the Teacher/Leadership Quality Program at Hofstra University. The goal of the program is to enhance student learning and achievement by furnishing teachers with research-based instructional support. He is currently co-director of the Master of Arts Program in Mathematics, Science and Technology for elementary practicing teachers at Hofstra University. He is also the principal investigator of the Noyce Scholarship Program for Mathematics Teaching.

Blidi S. Stemn

His research has primarily focused on problem solving as a skill and instructional strategy, mathematics knowledge of teachers, and issues of culture and social justice in mathematics education. He is currently vice president for membership of the North American Study Group on Ethnomathematics (NASGEm), a regional chapter of the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics (ISGEm). In October 2007 he was a guest on WURD AM Radio, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, discussing issues related to mathematics teaching and learning in urban and multicultural communities.

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Cross near Monaincha Church, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.

Catholic Rituals and the Question of Women Deacons Photo by Phyllis Zagano

Phyllis Zagano, Senior Research Associate-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor, Department of Religion


n 2008 the Fulbright Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, awarded approximately 6,000 grants totaling more than $275.4 million, to U.S. students, teachers, professionals, and scholars to study, teach, lecture, and conduct research in more than 155 countries, and to their foreign counterparts to engage in similar activities in the United States. I received one. My proposal for spring 2009 had two parts: teaching and research. I asked to accept the invitation of the head of the Department of Theology and Religious


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Studies at Mary Immaculate College of the University of Limerick to teach one module (the equivalent of one threecredit course) on the history of women in Christianity. In coordination with teaching this module, I proposed a study to enlarge and deepen the arguments of my published research about Catholic women deacons. Despite several official attempts to quash discussion, Catholics are still interested in the neuralgic question of the ordination of women. Perhaps in no other religion is professional ministry by women so hotly debated. Hierarchically organized Christian denominations have

three ranks of professional ministers. In the Catholic churches, these clerics, as they are now known, are deacons, priests and bishops. In Christian teaching, the first deacons were called forth from the Christian assembly by the apostles to supervise the church’s charity (Acts 6:1-6). According to Pope Benedict XVI, himself a historian: ... theirs was a truly spiritual office which carried out an essential responsibility of the Church, namely a well-ordered love of neighbor. With the formation of this group of seven,

“diaconia” – the ministry of charity exercised in a communitarian, orderly way – became part of the fundamental structure of the Church.1

specific geographical locale called a diocese, headed by one bishop, or they belonged to a monastery or religious order, whose abbot or superior was effectively the same as a bishop.

While the orderly ministry of charity did become and remains part of the fundamental structure of the church at every level – from the individual parish to the headquarters of the Holy See at the Vatican – the diaconate did not retain direct oversight of it.

From time to time, individual bishops or even church councils called for the restoration of the diaconate, and by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) the time seemed ripe for its restoration. As the story goes, when he signed the paperwork authorizing the diaconate as a permanent ordained rank in Catholicism, Pope Paul VI asked an obvious question for anyone who knew church history: what about women deacons?

The early church clearly distinguished the functions of priest and deacon, each directly serving the bishop. While the Eastern churches strongly retained the diaconate, it progressively faded in the West, until deacons’ functions became more ceremonial than real. Concurrently, the role of women deacons faded. Eventually the diaconate in the Latin or Roman Catholic Church was primarily the first ordained step on the way to priesthood. Priests, in turn, were “attached” to a

Intriguingly, the answer he reportedly received has seen only the barest light of day. What is said to be the text of a report made to the pope by a Camaldolese monk named Cipriano Vagaggini was eventually published in 1974 – in Italian – in a small, but highly regarded, academic journal. Yes, he

Hofstra’s Irish Studies Program, initiated in spring 2008 by Drs. Gregory Maney (Sociology) and Maureen Murphy (Education), is the first such program on Long Island, which is home to more than 500,000 people of Irish ancestry. The program is distinguished by its wide range of course offerings and high level of engagement with and service to the broader community. The interdisciplinary Irish Studies minor curriculum includes rich course offerings on Ireland’s past and present, giving students the opportunity to study and analyze the cultures, diaspora, economy, history, politics and social relationships of Ireland and the Irish. Irish Studies provides a better understanding of several disciplines, including dance, film, literature, music, philosophy, religion and theater, as well as of contemporary issues such as migration, globalization, regional integration, economic development, colonialism, nationalism, armed conflict, and peace processes. In addition to formal courses, the Irish Studies Program organizes: A summer studies program in Ireland. Film and lecture series on topics relating to Ireland. Conferences, exhibits, and the annual Hofstra Irish Experience Festival. Daylong workshops and summer classes in Irish culture for young people.

Dr. Zagano and Mother Marie Fahy, abbess of the Cistercian monastery of Glencairn, Co. Waterford; photo by Sr. Michele Slattery, OCSO

Partnerships with community-based organizations to address the needs and interests of the Irish community on Long Island through research, course offerings, and special events.

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Road sign in Ennis, Co. Clare; photo by Dr. Phyllis Zagano.

said, there were women deacons, and they were ordained. Pope Paul VI set out the new rules for the permanent clerical rank of deacon in 1972 in his Apostolic letter Ad pascendum. He did not mention women deacons. Throughout the 1970s, the debate about women deacons raged, centering on two sides, each of which used history as its tool. Those opposed to including women in the newly revived order of deacon said that women may have been called deacons, but were never ordained as such – only “blessed” or “enrolled” or “appointed.” Those who argued in favor of women deacons pointed to historical records, literary references, tombstone evidence, and actual liturgies used by bishops to ratify women as deacons to bolster their case. Then the women priests debate exploded. Throughout the 1970s, arguments abounded about women’s ordination in many Christian


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Dr. Phyllis Zagano at main gate of Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick; photo by Sister Irene Kelly, RSHM

denominations. In the Catholic Church, a Vatican curial office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a 1976 opinion titled Inter Insigniores (“Declaration on the Question of Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood”), and in 1994 Pope John Paul II sent Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (“On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone”), an Apostolic letter to the world’s Catholic bishops. Both stated women could not be ordained priests, but each left the matter of women deacons aside. A 2002 document on the diaconate by the International Theological Commission left the question of women deacons open for further study. While my previously published work relied on theological anthropology, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, canon law, historical and ecumenical sources, and contemporary understandings of the diaconate, this new project focuses on ritual validation of roles for Catholic women, including

historical analysis of their ordination, benediction, enrollment, consecration, and profession rites. Ancient and medieval sources reveal parallel developments of rituals to accept and certify women’s church service. The Apostolic Constitutions, best known for documenting third- and fourth-century liturgies, include formulae for the ordination of women deacons, as well as for the blessing or enrolling of widows, and for the consecration of virgins. The creation of monasteries for women engendered additional ceremonies to ritualize membership and leadership. In the Latin Church’s first 600-700 years, in different locales, bishops accepted women’s ministry through such ceremonies, variously referred to as benediction, consecration, enrollment, ordination, and/or profession. Increasingly, over the next 800-900 years or so, official church recognition of women’s dedication and

ministry took place only within monasteries. But as women’s monasteries grew, so did formalized profession rites for the nuns and consecration rites for their abbesses, whose territorial power nearly equaled that of diocesan bishops. It appears the church originally recognized and authorized abbesses’ juridical and sacramental authority through ordination (sometimes called benediction) as deacon (or deaconess); an abbess’s overseeing role was recognized by consecration. These seem to equate to the ordination of male deacons and the consecration of bishops.2 Concurrently, the Catholic notion of sacrament, and especially of sacramental ordination, continued to evolve, and by the early Middle Ages most women who wished to serve the Church retreated to abbeys and monasteries, following one or another of the ancient rules (e.g., St. Benedict, Carmel) or some of the newer ones (St.

Francis, St. Dominic). Women who wished to actively minister outside monasteries joined third orders. Even so, the role of deacon and, when viewed equivalently in abbesses, the role of bishop, continued to be filled by women and ritually acknowledged.3 The rules and rituals of contemporary communities of cloistered women reveal elements common to ancient rituals of ordination, demonstrating the tantalizing probability that ancient ritual was adapted by them in the cloister. That is, the meanings of “ordination,” “consecration,” “benediction,” “enrollment,” and “profession” demonstrate that women’s rituals represented, and represent, what they understood about their status. Today, particularly in the Benedictine (especially Cistercian) and Carthusian women’s traditions, the ceremonies for profession (permanent membership of a nun in the monastery or abbey) and for consecration of virgin are distinct

Farewell luncheon for Dr. Zagano, with faculty of Theology and Religious Studies and guests; photo by Diana Gaillardetz.

ceremonies. But some include liturgical elements peculiar to ordination ceremonies. For example, at the time of consecration of virginity, the Carthusian nun receives the stole and maniple – liturgical vestments of the deacon. There are other similarities among rites for profession and consecration of cloistered nuns and for diaconal ordination, and even between rites for consecration of abbess/prioress and for consecration of bishop. History points to several cases – the sixth century woman Saint Radegund is often cited – where a woman demanded ordination as a deacon before she became an abbess. Even today, an abbess receives symbols of office – ring, crosier, and miter – at her consecration. What difference does it make? While superiors of communities of nuns and sisters have certain juridical authority by virtue of their office, no woman has clerical status.4 Jurisdiction – the right

Dr. Zagano with Rev. Professor Eamonn Conway, head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Mary Immaculate College; photo by Dr. Jessie Rogers.

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of governance – comes with office, and sacramental authority requires faculties granted by the local ordinary (bishop), but each typically requires clerical status. Permission to preach at liturgies and to solemnly celebrate sacraments requires ordination.5 The Catholic Church currently restricts its ordained ministry to men, including more than 35,000 permanent deacons worldwide. Establishing the historicity of women’s ritual and service grounds the ongoing discussions about restoring ordained women’s ministry in the Catholic Church. Such restoration would greatly broaden professional ministerial opportunities for women,

restricted to clerics; only priests (and bishops) may celebrate Mass, absolve, and anoint; only bishops may ordain and confi rm, although the latter may be delegated to priests.

and restore the feminine face of Catholicism.

Endnotes 1

Benedict XVI, Encyclical letter, Deus caritas est, January 25, 2006.


Arguments relative to women priests cloud this discussion, and are therefore eliminated. The church sees deacons acting in nomine Christi or in persona Christi servi and priests in personae Christi capitas ecclesiae; the bishop combines the two. Two current magisterial arguments counter the concept of women priests: the iconic argument (priests must physically resemble Jesus) and the argument from authority (Jesus did not name women apostles). Deacons can witness marriages and baptize, as well as bury the dead, preach at liturgy, and hold offices


This is not to overlook the canonical arguments about abbesses’ authority that took place from the Fourth Lateran Council to the Council of Trent.


Lay persons can be appointed to certain offices: fi nance officer, fi nance council, parish administrator, administrator of goods, judge, auditor, promoter of justice, defender of the bond.


Non-ordained persons may validly perform only baptism and marriage. Aside from the other sacraments, preaching at liturgy is the most restricted of all. Canon 767.1: “Among the forms of preaching the homily is preeminent; it is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to the priest or deacon.”

Phyllis Zagano 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 Ph.D. from Stony Brook University and three master’s degrees. Among her 12 books is the award-winning Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church. She has published her research in a number of journals, including the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Theological Studies, Journal of Communication and Religion, Horizons, Journal of Pastoral Psychology, The Furrow (Ireland) and The Way (England).

Phyllis Zagano

Dr. Zagano is the Catholic columnist for the nationally syndicated Religion News Service (Washington, D.C.), and occasionally writes for non-refereed journals, including The Irish Catholic (Dublin, Ireland) and The Tablet (London, UK). She is listed in several international biographies, including Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who in American Education, and 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 served as consultant to Martin Seligman’s Templeton Foundation Positive Psychology Project “Spirituality and Living Well“ at the University of Pennsylvania. She recently returned from Ireland, where she was visiting lecturer and Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, and is teaching “History of Irish Spirituality“ for Hofstra’s Religion Department and the Irish Studies Program in fall 2009.


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Hofstra at a Glance LOCATION: Hempstead, Long Island, 25 miles east of New York City. Telephone: (516) 463-6600 FOUNDING DATE: 1935 PRESIDENT: Stuart Rabinowitz, J.D.

Trustees of Hofstra University As of October 2009 OFFICERS Marilyn B. Monter,* Chair Alan J. Bernon,* Vice Chair David S. Mack,* Vice Chair Joseph M. Gregory,* Secretary Stuart Rabinowitz, President ___________________


CHARACTER: A private, nonsectarian, coeducational university ACCESSIBILITY: Hofstra is 100 percent program accessible to persons with disabilities. COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS: Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Frank G. Zarb School of Business; School of Communication; School of Education, Health and Human Services; School of Law; School for University Studies; Hofstra University Honors College; Hofstra University Continuing Education; and Hofstra University School of Medicine in partnership with North Shore-LIJ Health System. FACULTY There are 1,180 faculty members, of whom 554 are full-time. Ninety-one percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields. STUDENT BODY: Full-time undergraduate enrollment of 7,327. Total University enrollment, including part-time undergraduate, graduate and School of Law, is about 12,100. Male-female ratio is 45 to 55. DEGREES: Bachelor’s degrees are offered in about 140 undergraduate program options. Graduate degrees, including Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D., Au.D. and J.D., advanced certificates and professional diplomas, are offered in about 150 graduate program options. LIBRARIES: The Hofstra libraries contain 1.2 million print volumes and provide 24/7 online access to more than 49,000 full-text journals and 42,400 electronic books. JANUARY AND SUMMER SESSIONS: Hofstra offers a January session and three summer sessions between May and August.

George W. Bilicic, Jr. Tejinder Bindra Robert F. Dall* Helene Fortunoff Martin B. Greenberg* Leo A. Guthart Peter S. Kalikow* Abby Kenigsberg Arthur J. Kremer Karen L. Lutz Donna M. Mendes* Janis M. Meyer* John D. Miller* Martha S. Pope James E. Quinn* Lewis S. Ranieri Edwin C. Reed Robert D. Rosenthal* Debra A. Sandler* Thomas J. Sanzone* Joseph Sparacio* Frank G. Zarb* DELEGATES Gregory Maney, Speaker of the Faculty William F. Nirode, Chair, University Senate Executive Committee Georgina D. Martorella, Chair, University Senate Planning and Budget Committee Sean Hutchinson, President, Student Government Association Akeem Mellis, Vice President, Student Government Association Laurie Bloom,* President, Alumni Organization ___________________ 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 Bernard Fixler,* Trustee Emeritus Florence Kaufman, Trustee Emerita Walter B. Kissinger, Trustee Emeritus Ann M. Mallouk,* Chair Emerita Thomas H. O’Brien, Trustee Emeritus Donald A. Petrie,* Trustee Emeritus Arnold A. Saltzman, Trustee Emeritus Norman R. Tengstrom,* Trustee Emeritus * Hofstra alumni

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HOFSTRA horizons


Innovation, Here, There and Everywhere: Developing Appropriate Technology to Improve Quality of Life and Retain Cultural Diversity


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