e-Veritas Archive | November, 2014

Don Stacks Receives Lifetime Achievement Award


Michael J. Palenchar, chair of the NCA PRIDE Awards Committee, left, and Don Stacks, recipient of the 2014 PRIDE Contribution to Public Relations Education Award

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 26, 2014)—Don Stacks, a professor of public relations and a leader in public relations research and education, received the 2014 PRIDE Contribution to Public Relations Education Award from the National Communication Association’s Public Relations Division last week. He was nominated for the lifetime achievement award by five of his doctoral students.

As they wrote in their nomination letter, “Few have done more to advance research as a major tenant of public relations education than Dr. Stacks. His Primer of Public Relations Research text, now in its 2nd edition, is considered the standard in public relations research education around the world. Moreover, he has (co-)authored and edited more than 30 books, most of which are being used as textbooks educating young public relations professionals around the world.”

Stacks, who was inducted into the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame in 2012, chairs the Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation, which promotes the standards and best practices for research, measurement, and evaluation among both academics and professionals. He is also editor of Communication Research Reports and a research fellow at the Institute for Public Relations.

From 1996 until recently, he directed UM’s public relations program, helping move it from a relatively unknown program into the top tier at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He also initiated and continues to direct the first International Public Relations Research Conference, which, now in its 18th year, is the world’s largest non-academic research conference.

As attested by the current and former students who nominated Stacks for the PRIDE award, his third, he is also an unparalleled advisor and mentor.

“It is staggering how the efforts of one person can truly make a difference in shaping our understanding of the role of research in public relations discipline, especially among his many students who graduated to be leaders in the professional world,” Ph.D. candidate Zongchao Cathy Li wrote, along with Melissa Dodd, an assistant professor at the  University of Central Florida,
 Rita Linjuan Men, an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University, and UM doctoral students Yi Grace Ji and Zifei (Fay) Chen.

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Sexual Assault Resource Team Seeks Volunteers

The UM Counseling Center’s Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART) is seeking dedicated, warm, and empathic faculty, staff, and graduate student volunteers to serve as advocates during the 2015 calendar year. SART is often the first line of response for UM students who have been sexually assaulted, molested, or battered, and has supported sexual assault survivors and concerned others since 1992.

As an advocate, you will provide hotline callers with much-needed emotional support and referrals as well as information on how to access resources. Advocates will be trained to take calls from students in a variety of sexual assault-related situations, learn about various resources available to those who have been sexually victimized, and receive support from licensed mental health professionals at the Counseling Center. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Carolyn Eberhardt or Audrey Cleary at the Counseling Center at 305-284-5511, or email them at [email protected] or [email protected].

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Researchers Develop Novel Family Therapy for Schizophrenia

SchizophreniaCORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 11, 2014)—University researchers have developed a family-focused, culturally informed treatment for schizophrenia (CIT-S), one of first to incorporate elements of the patient’s cultural background as part of therapy. Their findings are published online ahead of print in the Journal of Family Psychology.

The novel treatment aimed to reduce patients’ symptoms and improve patient and caregiver emotional well-being, explains Amy Weisman de Mamani, associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator of the study.

“We have developed a program for the treatment of schizophrenia that taps into the family’s cultural beliefs, values, traditions, and religious practices to help them come to terms with the illness and better manage the symptoms,” Weisman de Mamani said. “We found that adding culturally based segments to an already established family-focused treatment for schizophrenia reduced patients’ psychiatric symptoms above and beyond an intervention that focused solely on educating family members about the illness.”

For the study, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and their caregivers participated in 15 weekly one-hour sessions. The treatment covered a range of topics and skills, including education about the illness, techniques to bolster family cohesion, and adaptive use of religious coping, communication training, and problem-solving. Homework also was assigned for family members to practice the skills learned during therapy. A control group received three sessions of psycho-education about the illness.

Participants who completed the study came from 46 separate families of different ethnic backgrounds. About half of the families were randomly assigned to the CIT-S program and the other half to the control program. Assessments occurred in either English or Spanish, depending on the individual family’s preference.

The findings indicated that patients who participated in the CIT-S program had significant reductions in their psychiatric symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, delusions, blunted affect) and their caregivers reported significantly lower levels of guilt, shame, and burden.

“The treatment is easy to administer and treatment manuals and materials are available in English and in Spanish,” Weisman de Mamani said. “We hope that the ease and accessibility of CIT-S will facilitate dissemination to hospitals and clinics that service individuals with schizophrenia and their loved ones.”

The study, “A Randomized Clinical Trial to Test the Efficacy of a Family-Focused, Culturally Informed Therapy for Schizophrenia,” was co-authored by Marc J. Weintraub,  Kayla Gurak, and Jessica Maura, who are PhD. students from the Department of Psychology.

The next step is for the researchers to test whether CIT-S can outperform a matched length control treatment that includes all of the ingredients of CIT-S, except those that directly tap into participants’ cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors. They also want to verify that changes in the use of adaptive cultural practices and belief systems are what account for the efficacy of CIT-S.



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Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd to Speak at Fall Commencement

UM News

Meet the Press - Season 67

A Miami native, Chuck Todd has been passionate about politics almost as long as he’s been a fan of the Miami Hurricanes.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 22, 2014)—Chuck Todd, the political director of NBC News and the moderator and managing editor of the network’s flagship “Meet the Press” Sunday morning public affairs program—the longest-running broadcast in television history—will be the speaker at the University’s fall commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 18.

A self-described political junkie who has earned a reputation as one of the most passionate journalists and sharpest analysts in American media, Todd has held the role of political director since March 2007, leading all aspects of the news division’s political coverage and analysis across every platform.

He is also the editor of First Read, NBC’s must-read guide to political news and trends in and around Washington, D.C., and the coauthor of the definitive election result analysis book for the 2008 presidential campaign, How Barack Obama Won, published by Vintage. His second book, The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House, was released in November 2014 by Little, Brown and Company.

A native of Miami who has been passionate about politics since middle school—almost as long as he’s been a Miami Hurricanes fan—Todd previously served as NBC News Chief White House Correspondent (2008-2014) and hosted MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” (2010-2014). Upon his appointment to “Meet the Press,” influencers and competitors praised him as “a tireless reporter” with “an encyclopedic knowledge of politics” and the ability to “break down barriers and get people off of their talking points.”

He will address more than 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and law students who will receive their newly minted degrees at the BankUnited Center.


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UM Adds M.B.A. for Athletes and Artists to Its Customized Offerings

Special to UM News

The School of Business Administration has developed a new executive MBA program designed primarily for professional artists and athletes. Beginning February 2015, the Miami Executive M.B.A. for Artists and Athletes will teach these accomplished individuals, many of whom have strong personal brands, how to leverage their current career success into business and social achievement.

Because the program is expected to draw many players from the National Football League (NFL), classes will be held during the league’s off-season. The 18-month program consists of six two-week residency modules at the school’s main campus in Coral Gables. The program, which will be taught by the same world-class faculty who teach in the school’s other programs, has the same curriculum as the school’s existing Global Executive M.B.A. program, which meets on a similar schedule.

“The Miami Executive M.B.A. for Professional Artists and Athletes will equip current and former NFL players, as well as other athletes and artists, with the new knowledge and business skills they need to continue their personal and professional success,” said Dean Gene Anderson. “Like all of our Executive M.B.A. programs, this specialized program is designed to help participants become successful managers and leaders in the business world.”

The M.B.A. for artists and athletes adds another customized program to the school’s unique M.B.A. offerings. The school also offers the Miami Executive M.B.A. for the Americas program, designed for those engaged in the business of the Americas; the Executive M.B.A. in Health Sector Management and Policy program, designed for health care industry professionals; and the Spanish-language Global Executive M.B.A. program, designed for Spanish-speaking executives in Latin America, among the school’s other M.B.A. programs.


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