Developments Newsletter - Spring 2022

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DE VE LO P M E N TS Spring 2022

WELCOME FROM THE DEAN Welcome to the spring issue of the Developments newsletter. The gifts featured in this issue illustrate the important ways our donors advance our research and outreach missions. The Garcia Family Foundation is funding an expansion of the Poverty Project, which provides local nonprofits with data to improve the living conditions of low-income households in Tucson. An anonymous donor is funding two projects to tackle the growing problem of disinformation. And Laura and Arch Brown and Carol and Bob Dorsey are funding In the Americas with David Yetman, a show that airs on PBS but is produced by our own Southwest Center and spotlights the cultures and geographies of the Americas. I should add that the first two gifts will provide opportunities for our students to get hands-on research and community engagement experience. My sincerest thanks to these donors for their generosity and for trusting us to use their gifts to make the world more equitable and less deceptive, and to illuminate the beauty surrounding us. - John Paul Jones III, Don Bennett Moon Dean

Student Spotlight Robyn Pete

This past fall, Robyn (second to right) joined her classmates in the Intermediate Navajo Class to put on the Navajo-language play “Back to the Rez.”

Magellan Circle Scholar Robyn Pete – who also received the William Owen Nugent Undergraduate Scholarship – is a double major in American Indian Studies and pre-elementary education. She grew up in Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation, and wants to help improve housing and education on the reservation. “This is where I want to make a difference,” Robyn said.

“After completing my college education, I will return to my reservation to help decrease the demand for Native teachers.” Robyn credits her mother for encouraging her to attend college. “She is my motivator and inspiration,” Robyn said, adding, “She has been on my case about scholarships and was overjoyed to hear about this one.” Robyn is thankful to her Magellan Circle Patrons, Steve and Ruth Dickstein. “Thank you for your generous donation towards the completion of my higher education,” Robyn said. “This scholarship does not only benefit me, but my family too. I can attend school without placing a financial burden on my mother. I will be more confident and focused on my studies because of this scholarship. I will continue to do my very best and nothing less.”


At the end of the semester, students in the Poverty in Tucson Field Workshop present their findings to more than 200 community members, city officials, and nonprofit organizers.

Over the past seven years, students in the Poverty in Tucson Field Workshop have interviewed low-income households in Tucson, gathering information on a variety of topics, including housing, financial literacy, accessing services, neighborhood satisfaction, and health. At the end of the semester, the class presents their findings to more than 200 community members, city officials, and nonprofit organizers to help them better understand the causes and consequences of poverty, which impacts 25% of households and more than 33% of children in Tucson. The workshop is part of the Poverty Project, which is run by Sociology Professor Brian Mayer in collaboration with local nonprofits, including Habitat for Humanity Tucson, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Last year, Mayer also launched a class called “Building Healthy Communities,” in which students pitch their ideas on how to improve the quality of life in Tucson neighborhoods. Now, a new $200,000 gift from the Garcia Family Foundation will help the Poverty Project expand its capacity and increase its impact. A major supporter of the University of Arizona, the Foundation previously committed $4 million to fund scholarships for students in the W.A. Franke Honors College; it also supports the Fostering Success Program. Based in Tempe, Ariz., the Garcia Family Foundation was established in 1996 and focuses on ending homelessness

and supporting post-secondary education in Arizona. “For us, this project brings both of those pieces together,” said Jon Ehlinger, president of the Garcia Family Foundation. “In working with the university, we’re supporting the post-secondary educational side, particularly with the work that Professor Mayer is doing in his class. He’s getting students out in the field, not only helping them see what people are experiencing, but also helping move forward our knowledge in the area and better addressing some of these problems.” Ehlinger adds that the Foundation, which has made a sizable donation to combat homelessness in Maricopa County, wants to be active throughout the state and appreciates that the Poverty Project examines various issues connected to homelessness in Tucson. “Some people are just one financial disaster away from reaching that point,” Ehlinger said.

APPLYING THE DATA, SERVING THE COMMUNITY The Garcia Family Foundation’s focus on homelessness connects to one of the Poverty Project’s major findings over the years – that most low-income households in Tucson are “housing overburdened,” spending more than a third of their income on rent and utilities. The precariousness of that situation was heightened during the pandemic. This past fall, students in the Poverty in Tucson Field Workshop worked with the county’s eviction-prevention team to interview households facing eviction to learn more about the challenges of finding affordable housing in

Southern Arizona. Mayer wants the Poverty Project to continue to follow-up with those who received eviction-prevention funds, especially as the rise of home prices translates into fewer affordable housing options. “You gave [people] this one-time payment to help stave off eviction,” Mayer said. “What trajectory does that put them on and what future risks and challenges and problems are they going to face?” Funding from the Garcia Family Foundation will help the Poverty Project gather this type of information and also find additional ways to use the data collected in previous semesters to improve the conditions of people in Tucson. “One of the things I’m really excited about is we’re creating student research awards to help students who want to go further into the data,” Mayer said. The Undergraduate Research in Poverty Prevention Awards will go to students wanting to develop projects related to poverty and eviction. The students will then collaborate with Mayer on a research paper in a subsequent semester. Sociology major Jailyn Sloane is one of the first recipients of the research award. “Dr. Mayer and I will be working together to explore and research the damage that an eviction can have on an individual’s life for years,” Sloane said. She plans to research Eviction Record Expungement and how it could be used in Tucson “to minimize perpetual poverty and all of the hardships that go along with it.” “I am honored to be receiving this award, and I feel passionate about the topic of poverty,” Sloane said. “Eviction

Pre-pandemic, students in the Poverty in Tucson Field Workshop interviewed households from high-poverty census tracts in Tucson.

Brian Mayer

Record Expungement is not frequently discussed as a viable option to mitigate the overwhelming issue that is poverty. It is my objective to educate myself in-depth on this topic and ultimately present practical solutions to combat the suffering that goes on within our own neighborhoods.” The gift from the Garcia Family Foundation will also fund two to three paid internships in the spring for students who want to work in organizations addressing poverty and evictions in Southern Arizona, particularly for students who participated in the Poverty Workshop. “The idea is that they can take some of the lessons and insights they’ve learned from the Poverty Project into an internship opportunity,” Mayer said. Mayer also wants to increase engagement with community groups and share “bite-sized” findings through social media and events. A graduate research assistant will be hired to help nonprofits and government groups that need more tailored or in-depth information from the collected data. Mayer said the gift was useful in helping him brainstorm the next steps of the Poverty Project. In addition to providing more service to community groups that could benefit from the data, he wants the program to empower students to get more involved and to gain the skills and experience to become community leaders. “I’m very thankful for this gift to increase the capacity of the Poverty Project,” Mayer said. “Now more than ever, the lack of affordable housing is a problem. With the pandemic, people are still trying to recover so that they can pay their rent. Other folks are just looking for a stable, affordable place to live. And so understanding what that dynamic looks like, what are the paths forward, and where there are opportunities to help is critical to addressing the affordable housing crisis.”


The conflicting messages are everywhere – from the efficacy of vaccines, to the accuracy of election results, to the threat of climate change. Scrolling through your social media feed or listening to a family member express a belief you think is outrageous, you may have wondered how people can “fall for that.” Or maybe you’re just overwhelmed and confused. The implications of disinformation on our planet, our democracy, and our collective health are huge. To help combat this problem, an anonymous donor has given a sizable gift to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He hopes his donation inspires others to give to this important topic and advances the university’s effort to teach people how to recognize and resist what he calls nefarious propaganda and psychological manipulation. The gift will fund research and the creation of instructional innovations by Jonathon Reinhardt, professor in the Department of English, and Diana Daly, assistant professor in the School of Information, on topics ranging from the grammar underpinning disinformation to the social relationships that make combating disinformation so challenging.

various rhetorical strategies that people use when they are trying to deceive, including false choices, logical fallacies, false equivalence, cherry picking, manufactured outrage, fear mongering, scapegoating, hate speech, and character assassination. “We all have inherent cognitive biases and tend to seek simple ways of understanding our world which hide or ignore complexity. Effective propaganda takes advantage of this,” he said. “It provokes us to react emotionally rather than think critically with empathy and understanding.” “I believe that having familiarity with psychological manipulation (PM) techniques provides crucial insight into the trustworthiness of a speaker or author – it’s generally clear who is arguing in good faith and who is relying on PM to make their case,” he said. “If you understand the con, the con doesn’t work.”

RESISTING PSYCHOLOGICAL MANIPULATION A University of Arizona alumnus, the donor lost family members to the Holocaust and taught himself how to recognize and resist propaganda. “I believe that as a country we have failed to teach our people how to recognize and resist propaganda and as a result, many of our citizens have fallen for an onslaught of very effective psychological manipulation,” he said. “In my mind, this has greatly contributed to our inability to effectively address many of our major societal challenges, including racism and racial injustice, climate disruption, access to affordable health care, wealth inequality, and efforts to destabilize our democracy.” The donor believes that people need to learn to spot

Jonathon Reinhardt

THE CLARIFY INITIATIVE Reinhardt’s project is titled “The Clarify Initiative,” which includes the curation and creation of instructional materials, including digital resources that integrate critical language awareness into grammar and language instruction.

Reinhardt said that traditional grammar textbooks often do not explain how grammar is used as a tool for rhetoric – from using hyperbole, superlatives, and passive voice, to the strategic use of the pronoun “we” by politicians. “Grammar isn’t some sort of neutral tool, and every message is used for something,” Reinhardt said. “We can use various linguistics tools to analyze discourse or texts – from political speeches to advertisements to news reports to TikTok videos – to understand the intention of the author.” This semester, he’s revised a section of “English 406: Modern English Grammar” to include discussion of rhetoric, propaganda, and misinformation. Reinhardt also works with large databases of text to analyze the frequency of words and how they’re used with other words and in what particular contexts. “We can use some of these findings from corpus analyses to empower students and help them develop critical awareness of how language is used,” Reinhardt said. As part of the Clarify Initiative, Reinhardt will create and share a variety of educational materials and resources for use in high schools, community colleges, and universities. Products will include an open-source e-textbook and e-workbook, a free smartphone app, and a prototype for an educational simulation role-playing game. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and the gift of time to innovate and create curriculum that the world needs,” Reinhardt said. “The project can help people develop awareness towards how media is used to influence us and how we can be more active in understanding it.”

IMMERSIVE TRUTH Daly’s project is titled “Immersive Truth: Using Groups and Stories to Construct and Deconstruct Propaganda” and will involve identification of narrative and social strategies behind the spread of disinformation via rich media. She will also pilot creative media solutions with students. “For a long time, there’s been a focus on making sure people have the facts, but what we are encountering is that facts are not enough,” Daly said. “The narratives that people form are really essential for them to make sense of things that are happening. They are not easily subtracted from people’s minds. Facts don’t do it. The only way to subtract a narrative, I believe, is to replace it with another narrative.” Daly said a desire for connection and a shared sense of purpose is a driving force behind the spread of both information and misinformation online. “In an era when misinformation communities like QAnon mirror the behavior of religious groups, a crucial understanding we lack is of the purposes misinformation communities serve for followers who, by continuing to believe,

Diana Daly

continue to belong,” Daly said. Daly’s project will include pilot research focused on wellness communities spreading anti-vaccine beliefs and behaviors. Her team will analyze viral misinformation memes, trace the source, and analyze the appeals. They will interview believers and nonbelievers. The team will also try to recruit concerned members of these communities to produce and spread memes and messaging that question, satirize, or debunk the misinformation. Outcomes of the project include reporting findings online, along with creating various teaching tools, such as memes, digital stories, and apps to disentangle disinformation. “I’m really grateful to have been matched through SBS with a donor who is thinking deeply about what I’m thinking deeply about, which is how to address this extraordinary and growing problem of bad information circulating in our social environments,” Daly said.

DID YOU KNOW? Researchers use various terms for problematic information, including MISINFORMATION (false information) and DISINFORMATION (intentional false information).

SHARING THE DIVERSITY OF THE AMERICAS David Yetman (left) at the Pinacate Volcanic Range during season 6

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all been benched. Many find escape in such programs as In the Americas with David Yetman, traveling vicariously with Yetman to fascinating places that are off-the-beaten path. In the series, the Southwest Center’s David Yetman and Dan Duncan uncover the geographic and cultural diversity of the Americas and take a fresh look at the lands that make up much of the Western Hemisphere. They ask locals to speak about what they want the world to know about their home. They visit people who can replace conversation with whistling, islanders who have cooked the same meals for 10,000 years, and pastoralists who live at an altitude too high for any activity except herding llamas. They approach volcanoes in Chile and Alaska, and ride rafts, boats, ferries, horses, and motorcycles to explore the terrain. Yetman is the host and producer of In the Americas with David Yetman, which can be seen for free on http:// Duncan directs, edits, and produces the series. Both have received Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards for their work. Yetman was not sure if the series – which airs on PBS but is funded by gifts and grants – could continue. But new gifts – from Laura and Arch Brown, Carol and Bob Dorsey, and an anonymous donor – have funded the show’s 10th season, now in production.

“IT’S OUR FAVORITE SHOW” Laura and Arch Brown have traveled all over the world. Still, when they decide to watch TV – which is infrequently – they watch In the Americas with David Yetman. “The one show that we like to watch is David’s,” Arch said. “If we’re here and it’s 6:30, we turn it on and it’s always wonderful. He is a talented guy. It’s our favorite show.” When Yetman called the couple to explain his funding

shortage – he and Laura knew each other from their time serving on the board of Patronato San Xavier – the Browns decided to establish their gift as a challenge grant to encourage others to give. Soon, Yetman had the funds he needed to continue the show. The Browns care about and are fascinated by the parts of the world that In the Americas with David Yetman features. But the main reason they gave to the show? “David asked,” Arch said. Laura agreed. “I would trust anything David did because he does it with excellence and thoroughness and with a brilliant mind.” Laura and Arch Brown have contributed to the University of Arizona and Tucson community for many years through their philanthropy and their service on boards. Their giving to the university includes funding the Arch and Laura Brown Scholarship Program at the W.A. Franke Honors College, the Laura and Arch Brown Library Endowment, and the Hopi Language Book in the College of SBS. Their core areas of support are in education, land conservation and preservation, historical preservation, and alleviating childhood hunger. “My father taught me a long time ago that you can’t take from a community and not give back,” Laura said. “We’re blessed to be able to give to the things that we love and believe in, so we do.”

SEEING THE COMPLEXITY OF THE WORLD David Yetman and Carol and Bob Dorsey have known each other since the ‘60s. Yetman played the organ at the Dorseys’ wedding. Later, Carol helped Yetman campaign for the Pima County Board of Supervisors. Yetman has inspired the couple in their travels. Yetman introduced them to the Seri Indians, and the couple trav-

eled to Mexico to see the gray whales in Magdalena Bay. When Carol and Bob moved to Mississippi for Bob’s job as an economics professor at the University of Mississippi, they saw Yetman less often. But Carol appreciated Yetman’s show as a way to connect with her Tucson roots. “I missed the richness of our desert cultures,” Carol said. “From then on we knew to look at PBS affiliates and see where we could find his show running,” Carol said. “I found it to be a great armchair kind of traveling carpet for me. He engages many people to talk about their specialties in archaeology or biology or birds. Bob and I both feel that David has always inspired us to look at things with complexity and appreciation for all of the different mixes of culture and environments.” The Dorseys, now back in Tucson, have supported higher education over the years, including programs to alleviate poverty. One of the reasons they supported In the Americas – besides their loyalty to Yetman – is their appreciation of the show’s role in educating people outside the university. Thanks to their gift, the show’s website now includes course curriculum for educators. “Bob and I think one role of higher education is to provide an avenue for the community to experience things that they wouldn’t otherwise experience, to open their minds and hearts, and see the world through someone else’s eyes,” Carol said. “I think David and his crew are really valuable for the whole community.”

In season 6, Yetman went to Ecuador for a show titled “Native Peoples Meet the Oilmen.”

“Bob and I think one role of higher education is to provide an avenue for the community to experience things that they wouldn’t otherwise experience, to open their minds and hearts, and see the world through someone else’s eyes.” - Carol Dorsey TRAVELING ON

Laura and Arch Brown

“I would trust anything David did because he does it with excellence and thoroughness and with a brilliant mind.” - Laura Brown

Yetman has been fascinated by Latin America since he was a child. Growing up in New Jersey, he was too sick to attend school for four years and would pore over old copies of National Geographic. Since he moved to Arizona in 1954, he estimates he has made more than 400 trips to Latin American countries. Yetman credits his close relationship with Duncan – who he’s worked with for more than 20 years, collaborating with him on PBS’s The Desert Speaks before In the Americas – for the success of the show: “We’ve developed a tool, I think, for revealing our insights into the region. We want people to know stories that may not frequently appear in the public view.” With season 10, they are starting with rural places they can drive to, such as the Four Corners area and the Jaguar Reserve in northern Sonora, Mexico. Yetman said they have “grandiose plans” of filming in Brazil and Argentina once it is safe to do so. “What I’d like to say to the Browns and the Dorseys – Thank you for allowing me to continue my life.”


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CREATE YOUR LEGACY THROUGH A PLANNED GIFT Making a planned gift is a wonderful way to support the College of SBS and its mission. Charitable gifts help you meet your current philanthropic goals and extend your generosity well into the future. But did you know that a planned gift can also protect your assets, provide for your family, and guarantee you income for life? You can even make a significant impact through a gift that costs nothing in your lifetime. HERE ARE SIX WAYS TO MAKE A PLANNED GIFT: • Gifts by Will: Bequests allow you to secure an estate-tax deduction for the value of your gift. • Gifts that Pay You Income: You can support SBS and retain income for yourself and loved ones. • Gifts that Protect Assets: Lead trusts allow you to benefit SBS now and your heirs later. • Gifts of Retirement Plans: Consider retirement-plan benefits for a significant gift to SBS. • Gifts by Estate Note: An estate note is an irrevocable pledge or debt against the donor’s estate. • Types of Gifts: Giving cash is simple, but giving assets such as stocks often offers additional tax savings.

How to Give Donating to the College of SBS is making an investment in the future! You can donate online at To discuss making a planned gift or donating to the college, contact Ginny Healy at 520-621-3938 or

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