Dr. Salem will share some of the challenges and opportunities of living and working in Lebanon, especially during this historic October 17 revolution.  She will discuss gender equity in Lebanon and Lebanese American University, a university with roots in the 19th century as a school for girls that became the first College for Women early in the 20th century before turning co-ed with the oldest and most prestigious Arab Institute for Women.  She will present specific university initiatives related to young women’s empowerment, refugee projects, USAID scholarship funding, and the Title IX office.  Dr. Salem will conclude with stories and images from the front lines of the current popular uprising in Lebanon, where the leadership and involvement of women has been unprecedented.

Elise Salem, PhD, is Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management at the Lebanese American University.  An advocate for gender equity in Lebanon, she is a professor of literature, and author of Constructing Lebanon: A Century of Literary Narratives.

This event is sponsored by the Edna Saffy Lecture Series and the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research.  Reception to follow.

The collision of thought processes around innovative ways of visualizing social inequities often brings artists, educators, and engineers together. Join Michelle Tillander, Associate Professor of Art and Sally Crane, PhD candidate in the College of Education for a conversation ignited by the artwork Prison Searches in regard to the mediated sociocultural landscape, literacy, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Current research will be shared as well as some of the tensions (i.e. personal and political) that arise from dialogues and creative practices of artists and scholars who explore issues of youth inequity. This conversation is offered in conjunction with the 53rd SA+AH Studio Faculty Art Exhibition.

Recognizing that people in Florida shape their environment, but they are also sensitive to environmental changes, Humanities and the Sunshine State: Teaching Florida’s Climates is a unique, interdisciplinary residential educator seminar that tackles the complex issue of climate change. This program approaches Florida’s environment from multiple disciplines through systems thinking, and by situating contemporary changes in a historical perspective of climatic variations spanning millennia of geological years and thousands of years of human inhabitation of the peninsula. By showing how humans have experienced and responded to environmental changes over this time period, the seminar teaches adaptation as a necessary way of life as Floridians in the context of optimism and hope. In this way, the seminar connects cutting-edge research in the humanities and ecological sciences to Florida environmental policy issues.

This seminar is open to all educators and disciplines, including full‐time, certified K‐12 public or private school teachers of any subject, media specialists, librarians, guidance counselors, school and district administrators, state college professors, museum educators, National Park Service interpreters, and Florida State Park interpreters. Educators work in a well-supported and academically stimulating environment with Master Teachers in language arts/social studies and sciences to develop Florida state standards-based lesson planning components throughout the workshop. Documentation for In-Service credits will be provided.

For more information and to apply to Teaching Florida’s Climates, visit their website. 
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Elizabeth Currin, Department of Education

Currin’s research addresses the “Age of Accountability,” a decades-long period defined by top-down education reforms that position teachers as both the problem and the potential solution for America’s so-called failing public schools. This, Currin argues, leads to increased teacher stress, a loss of creativity, and a shift in teachers’ answering to superiors rather than their own students.

Through oral histories of three teacher researchers, Currin uses “zoom analysis” to examine how their work supplies counter-narratives to the “accountability” model. Teacher researchers take an inquiry stance toward teaching, continuously examining their own work in order to hold themselves accountable for improvement. The in-depth narratives of Currin’s participants illustrate this powerful process, making them “historical mentors” for tomorrow’s teachers.

Based on this research, Currin recommends that educators can reclaim accountability through stories and not just numbers. This shift in emphasis would not only motivate more teachers from various backgrounds, but also inspire teachers to share their stories with legislators and administrators. This might lead to a shift in policy that better supports the professional development of teachers and their academic goals for students.

Jaime Ahlberg, “Disability as Difference: Implications for Educational Justice”

With a view toward educational justice, Jaime Ahlberg considers how conceptions of disability shape social policy, in order to help scholars, policy makers, and educators to think broadly about reform beyond special education in U.S. educational systems. 

Ahlberg explores four models of thinking about disability: 1) the “Medical,” 2) the “Social,” 3) the “Cultural,” and 4) the “Critical Realist.”  Ahlberg favors the latter model because it enables consideration of how biology, built environment, individual experiences, psychology, and sociocultural factors are all be relevant to the presence and nature of disability.  She further argues that the critical realist model suggests that disability is characteristically a matter of “mere difference” rather than “bad difference”.  Encouraging researchers and educators to see disability in this way, and to privilege the reflective accounts of people with disabilities, opens new directions for thinking about disability in educational policy and practice. 

With this justice-oriented stance toward educational policy for students with disabilities, Ahlberg hopes to both encourage a dissolution of the hard distinction between ‘special’ and ‘general’ education, and to provide the conceptual tools necessary for policy makers and educators to better understand the educational rights of all students. 

Ph.D. Candidate, Education
2018-2019 Rothman Doctoral Fellow

Currin’s research addresses the “Age of Accountability,” a decades-long period defined by top-down education reforms that position teachers as both the problem and the potential solution for America’s so-called failing public schools. This, Currin argues, leads to increased teacher stress, a loss of creativity, and a shift in teachers’ answering to superiors rather than their own students. Read More “Elizabeth Currin, Department of Education”