Tag Archive | "college of arts and sciences"

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UM Experts Target the Small Bites and Big Threats Posed by Mosquitos

By Melissa Peerless
UM News

Mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever breed in water-holding containers such as plant saucers, buckets, and tires.

Mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever breed in water-holding containers such as plant saucers, buckets, and tires.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 8, 2014) – More than one billion people in the world are suffering from mosquito-borne diseases, and about one million of these individuals will die from these illnesses this year. Mosquito-borne viruses, such as malaria and dengue fever, are becoming a more widespread threat as globalization makes the world smaller—and people, goods, and germs travel around the globe with increasing speed and ease.

Scholars from across the University of Miami came together on World Health Day to address the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses and the actions necessary to prevent and protect individuals from these “small bites, and big threats,” during a cross-disciplinary seminar aimed at educating UM students, faculty, and the community. Read the full story

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Tolerance Is the Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Tolerance Is the Light at the End of the Tunnel


A visitor tours one of the rooms in the Tunnel of Oppression, which aims to challenge perceptions of oppression and hatred.

By Renee Reneau
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 27, 2014) — Each room was a greater challenge than the last. Bombarded by sights, sounds, and live actors, everyone who visited the Tunnel of Oppression came face to face with some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time, including homophobia, religious discrimination, environmental degradation, and the fight against modern slavery.

This past Monday through Wednesday in the UC Ballrooms, Tunnel of Oppression volunteers led 30-minute tours through nine rooms that aimed to challenge people’s thoughts and perceptions about acts of oppression and hatred.

“By fully immersing visitors in this experience, we hope to raise awareness about different social justice issues to inspire students to take action against oppression,” said Meera Nagarsheth, co-chair of Tunnel of Oppression.

Tunnel of Oppression is a collaborative project among multiple UM student organizations. Each organization was matched with a room that deals with a staple issue of that organization.

No Zebras: Canes Against Sexual Assault created the room about sexual assault, while the new UM chapter of International Justice Mission tackled the human trafficking room.

“The video and pictures of missing people in the Human Trafficking room left the strongest impression on me,” said Alessandria San Roman, president-elect of Student Government. “Tunnel motivated me to keep an open mind, and to start thought-provoking dialogues about what I witnessed in the rooms.”

With hopes of building a more tolerant and integrated campus community, a lasting impression is the most important outcome of Tunnel.

“I still remember some of the things I learned last year,” said second-year Tunnel attendee Daniela Lorenzo. “Tunnel definitely makes you realize all of the issues out there and wires your mind to think about the world in a different way. I think that is extremely powerful—the fact that Tunnel can get you thinking long after you leave.”

This year’s Tunnel of Oppression was also sponsored by the William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development, College of Arts and Sciences, UM Housing and Residential Life, and the Sociology and Criminology Club.

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Calling Volunteers to Share Experiences for ‘The Sixties’ Course for Fall 2014

The-SixtiesThe University of Miami is soliciting the participation of faculty and administration for its course on the 1960s, which will be led this fall by Joseph Alkana and Don Spivey. They hope to represent the period from the perspective of faculty and administration members who participated in the momentous events of the era and whose personal testimony might bring the times to life for our students.

In addition, they want to bring on board faculty who can offer expertise on relevant topics but who may not have been actual participants in events during the ’60s. The thinking is to expand faculty involvement to include more of the younger generation in whose hands the course will eventually rest as the more senior generation retires from the scene in the years ahead.

The course will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:25 to 9:05 p.m. in Storer Auditorium. If you would like to participate, please email Alkana or Spivey as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, March 28, with a brief description of your experience or expertise as well as with which specific panel discussion you would want to be involved.

Please contact  Alkana (jalkana@miami.edu) if you are interested in one of the following:  the Vietnam War and the Antiwar Movement (student revolt, campus unrest, and non-student activism). Please contact Spivey (dspivey@miami.edu) if you are interested in one of the following: the Civil Rights Movement, the Great Society and Urban Unrest, the Women’s Movement, Gay Rights, and the International Scene during the Sixties.

You can visit the course website for more information at http://scholar.library.miami.edu/sixties/index.html.

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Demonstrations from the Diamond: Professor’s C-Span Lecture Details Negro League Efforts during the Civil Rights Movement

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Demonstrations from the Diamond: Professor’s C-Span Lecture Details Negro League Efforts during the Civil Rights Movement

History professor Donald Spivey lectures on the Negro Leagues Impact on the civil rights movement. The February 13 session of his class, Sport in American History: The Black Athlete, was filmed by a film crew for a future broadcast on C-Span 3.

History professor Donald Spivey lectures on the Negro Leagues’ impact on the civil rights movement. The February 13 session of his class Sport in American History: The Black Athlete was recorded by a film crew for a future broadcast on C-Span 3.

During a C-Span filming of Donald Spivey’s class on Sport in American History: The Black Athlete, the UM history professor talked about the impact Negro League baseball players, in particular the iconic Leroy “Satchel” Paige, had on the civil rights movement.

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 14, 2014) – It was pitching prowess with a purpose, a demonstration from the diamond intended to be more protest than bravado.

When iconic Negro Leagues pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige would have his infielders sit down behind him and then strike out the side with ease, he was sending a message that black baseball players, who were forbidden from playing in the Majors, were just as talented as their white counterparts.

Paige, whose exploits as a pitcher were matched by his charisma as a showman and storyteller, was “always at odds with his environment” in the era of desegregation, and from the pitcher’s mound, he did “his best to strike out Jim Crow,” University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences professor Donald Spivey explained to his Sport in American History: The Black Athlete class on Thursday.

The hour-and-15-minute class had previously met nine times during this still-young spring semester. But what made this session unique was its new location—in the Senate Room of UM’s Student Activities Center—and the presence of studio cameras and technicians who were recording the lecture for an episode of a C-Span series that showcases history classes from colleges and universities around the nation.

Spivey spent 12 years researching and writing his book, If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy "Satchel" Paige.

Spivey spent 12 years researching and writing his book If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige.

With cameras rolling and students hanging on Spivey’s every word, the professor talked about the impact Negro League baseball players—in particular, Paige—had on the civil rights movement. When they weren’t barnstorming throughout the country, drawing larger crowds than Major League games, Negro Leaguers got involved in anti-lynching campaigns, Spivey said, noting that they collected money for the legal defense of nine black teenagers—Scottsboro Boys—accused of rape in Alabama in 1931.

Spivey also called attention to the social activism of Negro League owners like Effa Louise Manley, co-owner of the Newark Eagles baseball franchise from 1935 to 1946, who organized a boycott of stores that refused to hire black salesclerks.

He based much of his lecture on his latest book, If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige (University of Missouri Press, 2012), which is one of the required readings of his course.

The biography, which details every facet of Paige’s life—from his days growing up in Mobile, Alabama, to the time he spent in a Mount Meigs reformatory school, to his pitching prowess for various teams during the 1920s through 1950s, to the integration of baseball and his eventual entry into the Major Leagues—was the longest project on which Spivey has ever worked. “I thought it could be done in three years. But I soon found out that it couldn’t be completed in that time span because Paige went everywhere,” said Spivey. “And he didn’t have a stash of personal papers, which meant I had to dig and conduct research from every imaginable archive.”

Filming in session: A crew makes preparations to film Spivey's class just before it gets underway.

Filming in session: A crew makes preparations to film Spivey’s class just before it gets underway.

Spivey interviewed more than 160 former Negro League players, sometimes traveling to Negro League Baseball Museum events to interview groups of the players in a single day. He conducted the longest and most extensive interviews with legendary Negro Leaguers John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil and Theodore Roosevelt “Double Duty” Radcliffe.

A former collegiate halfback who attended the University of Illinois on a football scholarship, Spivey also visited scores of libraries. “You name it—the Library of Congress, Baseball Hall of Fame, University Library in Puerto Rico, the National Archives,” he recounted. Even UM’s own Richter Library, where Spivey consulted the Pan Am Collection, using it to learn that Paige flew on one of the airline’s planes to the Dominican Republic.

Spivey admits that writing the book wasn’t the hard part. It was the search for information to write the book—a process that even carried him out of the country—to the D.R. and Puerto Rico—and on a chase for leads that sometimes yielded little information. “I couldn’t do my research using just books,” he said. “I needed to be there and experience it.”

A longtime fan of Paige, Spivey wanted to write the book because other source material that existed on the Hall of Famer was merely a restating of facts or altogether wrong. “Getting the story correct and putting it into a historical context was important to me,” said Spivey.

UM student William Saunders, 22, a history major from Baltimore who was among the 50 students in Spivey’s class, already knew about Satchel Paige from stories his father told him. “But I didn’t realize how much of a social icon he was, and how much hope people got from him,” said Saunders.

According to C-Span, Spivey’s lecture will be broadcast on C-Span 3 in late March or early April as part of the network’s “Lectures in History” series, which airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. and midnight. C-Span 3 streams every weekend at c-span.org/history.

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Lester Goran, a Bright Light That Shone on Many Writers, Dies at Age 85

Lester Goran inspired scores of writers over his 50-plus years at UM.

Lester Goran inspired scores of writers over his 50-plus years at UM.

Melissa Peerless
Special to UM News

Coral Gables, Fla. (February 7, 2014) – Lester Goran, a talented writer, inspirational teacher, and founder of the Creative Writing Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami, passed away on February 6. He was 85.

During a career at the college that spanned more than a half century, Goran helped more than 20,000 students find their voices and tell their stories.

Former students recall his use of zany phrases (such as “Throw a cat out the window!”) to inspire them to look for surprises in their work. They remember a fantastic storyteller who was quick to both praise and criticize their work, as needed. Many say that, without his guidance, they would not be writers today.

Goran joined the Arts and Sciences faculty in 1960, and helped to establish the first creative writing curriculum at UM in 1965. He was also instrumental in establishing the Master of Fine Arts program in 1991.

“Lester Goran was a writer who practiced his craft to the end,” said M. Evelina Galang, director of the Creative Writing Program. “In doing so, he was a master who, by example, lecture, and encouragement, ushered several important writers into this world—among them Terrence Cheng, Chantel Acevedo, Michelle Richmond, Paul Perry, and Crissa-Jean Chappell. He was a bright light who made the University of Miami’s Creative Writing Program what it is today.”

Throughout his long and illustrious teaching career, Goran wrote prolifically, penning eight novels, a memoir, and three short story collections. Many of his works are set in Pittsburgh, where he grew up in a tough neighborhood before earning both B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.

In a 2010 interview, Goran said he was drawn to writing to explain his life. “I couldn’t understand myself unless I partially fictionalized myself into a drama. Produced, directed, and written by myself,” he said, adding that he loved teaching and “dealing with many young people who are on the edge of self-discovery.”

“A great University is built on a strong faculty, and Lester Goran is a shining example of our excellent team in the College of Arts and Sciences,” Dean Leonidas G. Bachas said. “We are all very proud of the Creative Writing Program, which Lester started. He has enlightened our community for 50 years, and his legacy will continue to live on in our students and their writings.”

During the 2010-11 academic year, the Creative Writing Program organized the Goran Reading Series in honor of his 50 years of service. Four prominent writers who had studied with Goran offered public readings, master classes, and community workshops. The program also established the Lester Goran Endowed Creative Writing Fellowship to offer emerging writers the opportunity to create.



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