Tag Archive | "School of Education and Human Development"

Holocaust Institute Provides Insights on Anti-Semitic Violence

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Holocaust Institute Provides Insights on Anti-Semitic Violence

By Richard Westlund
Special to UM News 


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Michael Berenbaum was one of the “extraordinary speakers” at this year’s Holocaust Studies Summer Institute.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 11, 2015) —Seventy years after World War II ended, anti-Semitism remains a serious problem in Europe. But unlike the dark days of Nazi Germany, hate crimes against Jews draw immediate condemnation, according to one of the nation’s leading Holocaust scholars.

“The response to anti-Semitic violence in France, Denmark, Germany, and other nations has been overwhelming support and sympathy for the Jews,” said Michael Berenbaum, founding project director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., at the 2015 Holocaust Studies Summer Institute, held June 8-12 at Storer Auditorium. “Today’s anti-Semitism is a very serious problem, but it is a different phenomenon than the Holocaust.”

More than 70 Miami-Dade County Public Schools teachers attended the professional development program, which was sponsored by the School of Education and Human Development, with support from the School of Business Administration, the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, and WLRN Public Radio and Television for South Florida.

“Our teachers benefit from gaining new information and access to new resources, so they can develop their lesson plans and teach the Holocaust properly in keeping with the state mandate,” said Miriam Klein Kassenoff, the institute director and district education specialist with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “We have teachers who come back year after year to learn from our extraordinary speakers.”

One returning attendee was Jennifer Levinson, a media specialist at Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach K-8. “This program brings in top scholars who share their findings with us,” she said. “In turn, we pass that information on to other teachers. The session on using the Internet for Holocaust studies was particularly helpful in that regard.”

Institute participants also heard firsthand testimony from Holocaust survivors, including Kassenoff, who escaped as a child. Berenbaum also narrated the horrifying testimony of Rudolf Reder, who was one of only two people to survive the Belzec death camp where 500,000 to 600,000 Jews perished.

In his talk on the “Stages to Auschwitz”—the steps that led to the genocide, Berenbaum discussed the moral courage that many Jews displayed, even when knowing their fate. He also talked about how a few Jews were able to “hide in plain sight” while living in German-occupied Europe. “One woman learned to laugh out loud in crowds, because someone who was Jewish would never call attention to themselves,” he said. “She instinctively used reverse psychology in order to survive.”


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UM Co-Sponsors Countywide ‘Ethics in Education’ Conference

By Richard Westlund
Special to UM News

Marilyn Neff moderated a lively discussion on

The School of Education and Human Development’s Marilyn Neff moderated a lively discussion on teaching to the test.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 6, 2015)—From high-stakes testing, to engaging disaffected students, to addressing the “win-at-all-cost” attitude, school teachers, administrators, coaches, and parents need to make ethical decisions based on what’s right for the child, according to panelists who took part in the May 1-2 “Ethics in Education: A to Z,” conference organized by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.

“Ethics is doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason,” said Professor Susan Mullane, director for Sport Administration in the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences in the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD), which co-sponsored the conference.

Marilyn Neff, the SEHD’s associate dean of Planning, Communications, and External Relations, added, “Ethics is just not a concept. It needs to be put into action in order to change individual and community behaviors.”

More than 200 Miami-Dade County Public School teachers and administrators attended the conference, which began with a Friday evening reception at Storer Auditorium on the UM campus.

“As educators, we need to prepare our students for making sound, ethical decisions when confronting their challenges,” Kenneth W. Goodman, professor of medicine and co-director of UM Ethics Programs, said in the opening session.

Baruti Kafele, an award-winning principal and motivational speaker from New Jersey, delivered an inspiring keynote address on “The Intentionality of Ethics in Education.” He spoke of the importance of taking an ethical approach to ensuring that young people have the right mindset to be successful in school.

“Student attitudes matter,” he said. “So, you need to get them excited about learning and their prospects for the future. Staff attitudes and the school climate and culture also matter. Students need to be acknowledged and recognized just for being themselves, as we give them the tools to be even greater than they are today.”

SEHD Dean Isaac Prillentensky, the Erwin and Barbara Mautner Endowed Chair in Community Well-Being, kicked off the Saturday session at Miami Senior High School with a talk on “Fitness and Fairness in Education.”

Prillentensky said educational policy makers need to shift their focus away from the blame game (“what’s wrong with kids, parents, and teachers”) and promote strengths, prevention, empowerment, and community change, as the school is doing through its SPEC initiative.

“Rather than reacting to problems, we must do more to prevent them from occurring in the first place,” he added. “We must pay attention to fairness and ethics in all the domains of life.”

In other Saturday sessions, Neff moderated a lively panel discussion on “Teaching to the Test: When Does It Cross the Ethical Line,” and David Lawrence Jr., Education and Community Leadership Scholar at the SEHD and president of the Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, moderated a session on “School Choice and Public Resources: What are the Limits for Charter Schools and Private School Subsidies?”

In the closing session, “Touchdown! Balancing Education with the Allure and Power of Sports,” Mullane led a conversation with Miami Hurricanes head football coach Al Golden, Miami Herald sports reporter and columnist Michelle Kaufman, and Miami-Dade County Court Judge Edward Newman, a former Miami Dolphin.

“Ethics are those values and principles that you can never compromise,” said Golden. “In sports, as in business, you have to know your organization’s mission and core values and stand up for what is right.”

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Melissa Institute Conference Focuses on Interrupting Human Trafficking

By Richard Westlund
Special to UM News


From left, Lynn Aptman, Etiony Aldarondo, and Juhi Jain spoke at the conference.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May, 4, 2015)—Human trafficking for sexual or labor exploitation is a serious problem throughout the U.S., particularly in gateway cities like Miami. Medical professionals, counselors and law enforcement officers need to be aware of the physical or emotional signs of mistreatment, and take action to help these victims, according to several University of Miami professionals at the “Human Trafficking: Interrupting the Pathway to Victimization” conference, held May 1 at the Student Activities Center.

“This scourge on society needs to change,” said Lynn Aptman, president of The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention, which she and her husband Michael co-founded 19 years ago after their daughter Melissa was murdered. Now housed at the University of Miami, the institute presented its 19th annual conference in partnership with the School of Education and Human Development (SEHD).

“We need to have a better understanding of this problem, so that we can be more effective in intervening,” said Etiony Aldarondo, associate dean of research and director of the SEHD’s Dunspaugh-Dalton Community and Educational Well-Being (CEW) Research Center.

In her presentation, “Social Impact of Human Trafficking: In Our Backyard,” Juhi Jain, a member of the Miller School of Medicine’s Class of 2015, addressed several myths about “modern-day sexual and labor slavery,” which claims about 20,000 victims annually in the U.S. “Men and boys are just as affected as women and girls,” she said. “Many are homeless and runaway children and teens who have a previous history of abuse.”

In most cases, psychological techniques are used to control the victims, so there are no signs of physical restraint or abuse, she said. “Tattoos and even bar codes are used to indicate ‘ownership.'” Jain advised doctors and nurses treating young patients for sexually transmitted infections, injuries, or malnourishment to ask follow-up questions to see if this might be a case of human trafficking.

“A patient who cannot tell you where she lives, does not make eye contact, or has another person answer the questions may be a victim,” Jain said. “You can call the national Polaris hotline at 888-373-7888 for immediate guidance and to be put in touch with the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force.”

Conference director Donald Meichenbaum, distinguished professor emeritus, clinical psychologist, research director, and a founding member of The Melissa Institute, spoke on “Approaches to Bolster Resilience in Victims of Human Trafficking: Core Tasks of Interventions.” Other presentations focused on the incidence and impact of human trafficking on victims, as well as the importance of outreach programs for victims.

The Melissa Institute is a nonprofit organization located at the School of Education and Human Development that is dedicated to the study and prevention of violence through education, community service, research support, and consultation. The institute’s mission is to prevent violence and promote safer communities through education and application of research-based knowledge.


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Brats, Baseball, and Brains: UM Celebrates 10th Family Day with the Miami Marlins

It wasn’t just another day at the ballpark, but a festive outing that celebrated outgoing UM President Donna E. Shalala’s remarkable 14-year tenure, the dedication of UM faculty and staff, their bonds with family, friends, and colleagues, and the promise of bright, young minds. The University of Miami’s annual Family Day with the Miami Marlins, held Saturday at Marlins Park in Little Havana, was all that and more. At the West Plaza, thousands of UM employees and their families and friends visited the Faculty and Staff Thank U tent, where they received orange U rally towels and enjoyed a panoply of pregame festivities, including face painting, autograph sessions with current and former Marlins players, photo opportunities with the Sebastian the Ibis and Billy the Marlin, and more.

Shalala, who was feted with a video tribute that played on the park’s jumbo screen, and UM Police Chief David Rivero threw out first pitches before the Marlins blasted the Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 in a stadium dotted with ’Canes waving those orange towels and pumping orange-and-green foam Us given to those who arrived early. But the Marlins weren’t the only winners, as the Miami Marlins Community Foundation awarded two generous scholarships to deserving ’Canes—Chelsea Mulkey, for her studies in the School of Education and Human Development’s Sport Administration Program, and the School of Communication’s Daniel New, who received the Suzanne Rayson Scholarship in Broadcast Journalism. Rayson, who served as the Marlins director of broadcasting from 2002 to 2008, passed away after a battle with cancer.

An estimated 19,000 UM employees and their guests participated in this year’s Family Day with the Marlins, the tradition begun 10 years ago to show the U’s appreciation for faculty and staff, who in addition to transforming lives every day through teaching, research, and service, have contributed more than $35 million to Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

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Forum Looks at How Scholars Can Impact Social Change

Special to UM News

From left, are Etiony Aldarondo, associate dean for research, School of Education and Human Development; Stephanie Coontz, research director, Council on Contemporary Families; and Phil N. Cohen, professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland.

From left, are Etiony Aldarondo, associate dean for research, School of Education and Human Development; Stephanie Coontz, research director, Council on Contemporary Families; and Phil N. Cohen, professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 12, 2015)—Humor, blogs, and media outreach are among the ways that academics can impact social change, according to four distinguished scholars who spoke at the School of Education and Human Development’s April 10 Community Well-Being Forum at the Newman Alumni Center.

“Inequality has significant toxic effects on a substantial portion of our population, such as poor health, high rates of incarceration, poverty, and racism,” said Etiony Aldarondo, associate dean for research, at the school. “Intellectuals must draw on their specialized skills and resources to disseminate their knowledge in a way that the public can understand.”

Aldarondo led the discussion on “The New Public Intellectual and Social Change” with Isaac Prilleltensky, the dean of the School of Education and Human Development; Stephanie Coontz, research director of the Council on Contemporary Families; and Phil N. Cohen, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland.

“I believe in pushing the limits and using humor and sarcasm to provoke conversations on important topics,” said Prilleltensky. “It doesn’t always work, but we need to create opportunities for dialogue that can lead to meaningful change.”

Coontz noted that going public with accurate research is difficult, because the facts don’t speak for themselves. “If you want to get good research out to the public in a way that it will be heard, you need teamwork,” she said. “Find the nuggets in your own research and help the press connect with other academics who can also provide them with solid information about your topic.”

Cohen, who wrote a blog on family equality for five years, said academics need to remember that their work may be read by multiple audiences, including their peers, their students, and the public. “Not every academic should become involved in public engagement, but it’s something you should consider,” he said. “I believe it’s important to debunk bad research or how it’s being used, and that’s one way intellectuals can contribute to social change.”








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