College as the Great Intervention: An Interview with Matthew Mayhew

Matthew Mayhew is an associate professor of higher education in Steinhardt’s Department of Administration, Leadership and Technology.  His research explores the impact of college on student outcomes.  His current project is IDEALS, a longitudinal study that looks at the role of spirituality in students’ lives.

You study how college influences students.  What about this question intrigues you?

College is the great intervention. Nowhere else do we, as educators, have the opportunity to design learning experiences for students from all walks of life.

So much rightful attention is paid to issues of access, ranging from race-based to need-blind admissions policies, as examples. What underscores these policies and the ubiquitous amount of attention they receive is the idea that participation in college leads to economic mobility AND active participation in a diverse democracy. It’s one thing to make college accessible to all; the questions that keep me up at night are the, “so now what? What do we do with students once they’re here?”

You’re interested in spirituality and high-risk behaviors like drinking.  Can you talk a little about your research in these areas?

Global conflict is rooted in religious intolerance.  As American institutions continue to expand their reach into international markets through strategic partnerships with global partners and through the recruitment of more international students to campus, we, as educators, need to create curricular and co-curricular experiences that help students from all faith and non-faith based traditions innovate to solve the global problems facing the 21st century. My work helps build the argument that productive exchange across religious difference is a necessary condition for creating solutions to global problems.

How can colleges better shape the students for the challenges of the world outside?

I am struggling with this question a bit, as I am becoming increasingly skeptical about the idea of college as an insulated experience, untouched by the world “outside.” What colleges do provide is a space for exploring some of the tough issues facing the world. Effective educators will use what is going on in the outside world as a pedagogical tool for teaching students the skills needed to innovate and problem solve.

So, what can colleges do? Teach students to innovate. A large part of my research agenda pivots on this fundamental idea — that innovation can be taught. And, guess what, it can. Of course, there are no silver bullets here, but teaching innovation is something educators may be uniquely positioned to do.

Where else can students openly try, fail, recover, and recast? Turning to specifics, my research has shown that innovation intentions are related to classroom practices: Educators can assess how students use theories, frameworks, and narratives to create case studies rather than respond to them; to develop an informed opinion rather than merely articulating competing hypotheses; to argue for a position as opposed to just taking one.

Keeping in mind, once again, that there are no silver bullets; I think the idea that innovation can be taught, at least to some degree, is powerful and may serve as one way of responding to the many critics who continue to question the values and purposes of higher education.

 

 

Stella Flores, Higher Education Scholar, to Join NYU Steinhardt

Stella M. Flores has been appointed Associate Professor of Higher Education at NYU’s Steinhardt. Flores, who is currently an associate professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University, will also hold the position of Director of Access and Equity within the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy.

“Stella Flores is a leading scholar in higher education whose research on critical issues in improving educational opportunity aligns with the core values of our school,” said Dominic Brewer, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of NYU Steinhardt. “We are very pleased to welcome her to the Steinhardt School and look forward to her scholarship continuing to shape public debate and policy in higher education.”

Flores is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar whose work has focused on college access and admissions, including analysis of approaches to affirmative action; college completion for low-income and underrepresented populations; immigrant students; Minority Serving Institutions and many other questions that are at the forefront of higher education today.  Her research has been published in the leading education journals:  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, The American Journal of Education, among many others.

She currently serves on the editorial boards of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and The Review of Higher Education. Her work has been cited in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Gratz v. Bollinger decision (dissenting opinion) and in various amicus briefs in the Gratz v. Bollinger and the Grutter v. Bollinger Supreme Court cases on affirmative action in higher education admissions.

Flores was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, and has received research funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The National Academy of Education and the Spencer Foundation.

Flores holds an EdD in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University, an EdM from Harvard University, an MPAff from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA from Rice University. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2007, she served as an evaluator for the U.S. General Accountability Office and a program specialist for the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

 

 

Steinhardt Faculty Member Carlos Chirinos Helps Launch Song Contest to End Ebola

A group of well-known West African musicians, together with Carlos Chirinos, a visiting instructor of music business, have launched a song contest in Guinea to educate local communities about Ebola. The contest was announced at a press conference in the Guinean capital Conakry, the Ground Zero of the current Ebola outbreak.

Carlos Chirinos

The Africa Stop Ebola song contest was one of fifteen projects selected from over 1,500 applications to Fighting Ebola: a Grand Challenge for Development, a grant competition organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Defense. The initiative called for innovative ideas to help stop the spread of the disease in West Africa, where in spite of significant progress in Liberia, Ebola still poses a significant threat, particularly in Guinea and Sierra Leon.

Led by Ivory Coast Reggae artist Tiken Jah Fakoly, the Africa Stop Ebola Song Contest brings to Guinea a musical event intended to mobilize local communities to write songs and give performances that reflect, inspire, and educate about the dangers of Ebola. The contest is designed to give local people an opportunity to work with health workers, practitioners and established artists to create health messages that promote support for survivors and families of the diseased and educate communities on how to be vigilant about potential future outbreaks of the deadly disease.

Ivory Coast reggae artist Tiken Jah Fakoly to lead Fighting For Ebola Song Contest Event in Guinea

The musical event will be staged in Conakry and will be broadcast on Radio and TV throughout the country, involving local and international artists. To date, over 250 people have  applied to participate in the contest.

At the peak of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Tiken Jah Fakoly with Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam, Oumou Sangare – who were among those named by Forbes magazine as the most influential people in Africa – and others, recorded the song Africa Stop Ebola, which relayed critical information to change behaviors and attitudes towards the disease. The song was aired on Radio and TV stations throughout West Africa and was featured in all major international media, making the hashtag #AfricaStopEbola one of the top 15 trending topics in Africa in 2014. The initiative received support from international celebrities including Bono, Peter Gabriel, and Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations.

“This song contest is a continuation of an ongoing and successful campaign that aims to get local communities to create the messages themselves,” said Chirinos, who specializes in behavioral change communication, music, and radio in Africa. “It is only by engaging local communities in this process that the Ebola Virus can be contained and prevented.”

 

Research Alliance Report on Expanded Success Initiative Finds Schools Are Engaging Students

A new report on New York City’s Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), which is designed to boost college and career readiness among Black and Latino male students, finds that the schools involved are changing the way they operate and offering students opportunities they would not otherwise have.

“There is strong evidence that these schools are doing something different as a result of ESI,” says the study’s lead author, Adriana Villavicencio, senior research associate at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. “We are seeing important shifts in the tone and culture of the schools. And, compared to students in other, similar high schools without ESI, students in these schools are more likely to report engaging in a range of positive activities, including college trips and one-on-one college advising, mentoring, and counseling.”

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools is conducting a four-year, independent evaluation of ESI, examining the initiative’s implementation in 40 New York City public high schools, as well as its impact on student outcomes, particularly for Black and Latino males. The evaluation will continue through 2017.

The new report, Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men, focuses on the second year of ESI, the 2013-2014 school year. Key findings include:

  • Strong implementation: As intended, schools have implemented robust programming aligned to the initiative’s four key areas: academics, youth development, a college-focused school culture, and culturally relevant education.
  • Improvements in school culture and student discipline: ESI schools are making changes that extend beyond distinct programs. For instance, educators reported that ESI has improved relationships within schools and led teachers to critically examine their own practices. They also described rethinking their approach to student discipline. And Research Alliance analyses of school discipline data show that ESI schools have, in fact, reduced suspensions for “disruptive” infractions.
  • Little impact, to date, on key student outcomes: The report also includes a preliminary assessment of ESI’s impact on several academic and non-academic outcomes. These results, which were mixed, highlight the fact that it is too early to determine whether ESI is yielding positive effects on indicators of college readiness and success.

“The most important measures of success – college readiness and enrollment – will not be determined until students’ 12th grade year or later,” says Villavicencio. “At this stage, what we can say is that these schools have changed the way they serve their Black and Latino male students. Whether this will ultimately translate to measurable improvements in student outcomes is an open question.”

In 2011, the New York City Mayor’s Office, in partnership with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement of the Open Society Foundations and Bloomberg Philanthropies, began the Young Men’s Initiative, a citywide effort to improve outcomes for Black and Latino young men in the areas of education, health, employment, and criminal justice. The Initiative’s core education component, ESI, is designed to meet two related goals: increase college and career readiness among Black and Latino male students in participating schools, and identify and disseminate effective strategies that might be replicated in other schools.

Click here to access Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men. This report follows three past reports related to ESI, which can be downloaded here.

(Photo:  (c) iStock/monkeybusinessimages).

 

NYU Study Suggests Social Inequities May Drive HIV Infection in Young Men

HIV infections continue to rise in a new generation of young, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YMSM) despite three decades of HIV prevention as well as recent availability of biomedical technologies to prevent infection. In the U.S., it is estimated that 63% of incident HIV infections in 2010 were among YMSM despite the fact that they represent a very small portion of the population.  Given this heightened risk for HIV seroconversion among YMSM, researchers at New York University’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) sought to identify the factors associated with incident HIV infection among a cohort of racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse YMSM.

Their paper, “Incidence of HIV infection in Young Gay, Bisexual, and other YMSM: The P18 Cohort Study,” published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), reports on data collected from 600 YMSM between the ages of 18 and 19 enrolled in the P18 Cohort.  These participants were followed over a three-year period and received HIV testing and counseling as part of the study.

Over the study period, the cumulative incidence of HIV was 7.2% and HIV seroconversion was associated with perceived SES and race/ethnicity. HIV seroconversions were lower among White YMSM, compared with their Black and Hispanic/Latino counterparts.  Also, HIV seroconversions were more likely among those who self-reported a perceived lower and middle/average SES (49% and 40%, respectively), compared to those who reported a higher perceived SES (12%).

“The data from our P18 Cohort Study demonstrate the social and structural inequities that continue to drive racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infections,” said Perry N. Halkitis and Farzana Kapadia, the study investigators. “Assumptions about differences in sexual behavior along racial lines are fueling stereotypes and these stereotypes are detrimental to prevention efforts. We find that young Black men are not engaging in more sexual activity but experience more structural and social inequities than their White peers.”

“In fact, our study findings show that socioeconomic status (SES) is key driver of HIV seroconversion; individuals who reported a lower perceived SES were more likely to seroconvert over the course of the study period. Moreover, in our cohort study, Black YMSM were more likely to be of lower SES and were also more likely to seroconvert,” said Halkitis and Kapadia.

The confluence of these factors is particularly problematic as low SES individuals are more likely to reside in neighborhoods with higher levels of poverty, environments associated with lower access to effective health services, and higher level of untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, conditions which have been shown to be inextricably connected to each other and also linked to increased risk for HIV acquisition and transmission. In the study residing in a high HIV prevalence neighborhood was associated with seroconversion.

In addition, younger average age at sexual debut with another man was also associated with a greater likelihood of HIV seroconversion. Specifically, YMSM who initiated sex with another man at or after the age of 14 were substantially less likely to seroconvert. This suggests that access to comprehensive sexual education programs that include components on sexuality education are warranted to bolster HIV prevention programming among adolescent and emerging adult YMSM.

“Taken together, these findings provide further evidence for the existence of significant racial/ethnic and SES related disparities in HIV incidence among YMSM.  In addition, these findings suggest that for sexual minority men, effective HIV prevention programs will need to attend to not only behavioral factors, such as age of sexual debut, but also structural and social conditions that continue to place this new generation of YMSM at heightened risk for acquiring HIV,” said Halkitis.

Future studies are needed to understand the relative contributions of economic, psychosocial, and structural factors that perpetuate racial/ethnic disparities in HIV incidence.  Such information will aid in the strategic scale-up of existing interventions and the development of new ones aimed at addressing these inequities at multiple levels.

 

The Class of 2015 Graduates at NYU’s 183rd Commencement Ceremony at Yankee Stadium

The Class of 2015 officially graduated on May 20th at NYU’s 183rd Commencement Ceremony at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, May 20th.

The school kicked off NYU’s graduation season with its annual Doctoral Convocation on Friday, May 15th.

NYU Pipes and Drums lead a procession of 114 doctoral graduates and faculty through Washington Square Park to the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

The annual rite-of-passage, started by the school in 1998, featured a hooding ceremony.

At the Doctoral Convocation, Herbert Marvin Greenberg (PhD ’55) received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. Greenberg is a best-selling author and the founder of Caliper, a company that matches personality qualities to the requirements of a wide range of jobs.

On Monday, May 18th, undergraduates and graduate students celebrated at the school’s Baccalaureate Ceremony and Valedictory Celebration at Madison Square Garden.

At the Baccalaureate Ceremony, Stanford E. Talyor (MA ’52) received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Taylor is the founder of Taylor Associates and designer of the Reading Plus system which has been used than more than 80 million students worldwide.

Jane Walentas (MA ’85) was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Valedictory Celebration. The director of the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, she restored a hand-carved 1920s carousel, which now adorns the Brooklyn Waterfront.

(Photo Credit:  Debra Weinstein.)

 

Institute of Human Development and Social Change Receives $6.4 Million to Study Stress in Middle Childhood

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health has awarded New York University a $6.4 million, five-year grant to study stress, self-regulation, and mental health in middle childhood.

The funding will allow researchers to continue to follow a sample of 1,292 children and their families. The researchers began the study when the children were born and will now be able to collect data as the children enter early adolescence.

Clancy Blair

“The aim of the study is to better understand family processes and the extent to which stress in families’ lives when children are young is related to behavior and stress physiology as the kids grow up,” said principal investigator Clancy Blair, professor of applied psychology at the Steinhardt School.

“Because this is a longitudinal study, we can look at how changes in family circumstances shape children’s development over time.”

The Family Life Project is a collaboration among NYU, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Pennsylvania State University. The project began following the large group of children and their families when the children were born in 2004. The families live in and around small towns in Pennsylvania and North Carolina in counties with high poverty rates.

The researchers have gathered a wealth of information at regular intervals since the children’s births, including school data, home visit questionnaires and interviews, and blood and saliva samples to look at immune function and other biological markers.

In the next phase, Blair and his colleagues will follow up with the children in 6th and 8th grades, along with their families.

“Middle childhood is an exciting time for our research, as the kids are entering adolescence and there’s a lot of change going on. It is also when we begin to see the first signs of later difficulties, such as substance use and mental illness. Hopefully what we learn will help us to identify these types of problems early and prevent them from becoming worse,” Blair said.

Drawing on earlier data, the researchers will look at the effects of early childhood stress on later behavior, including health and school outcomes, to better understand the extent to which the early stress shows up later in life.

“In previous studies, we saw that early stress – such as poverty, household chaos, and exposure to aggression – affects kids and families, especially the children’s ability to regulate their emotions, behavior, and thinking skills,” Blair said. “We have good measures of the children’s early experiences, and look forward to extending this research through middle childhood and into early adolescence.”

NYU will partner with UNC-Chapel Hill, Penn State, and Arizona State University on this research program. The grant (R01HD081252) will be administered by NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change.

(Photo:  Clancy Blair, professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt, is the principal investigator of a $6.4 million, five-year grant to study stress, self-regulation, and mental health in middle childhood.)

 

NYU Steinhardt Receives $2 Million to Expand Community College Transfer Program

The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation has awarded New York University a $2 million, three-year grant to significantly expand the Community College Transfer Opportunity Program (CCTOP). CCTOP is a scholarship and advising program for students transferring from local partner community colleges to NYU.

“Two-year colleges play a pivotal role in preparing students to navigate the challenges of the modern world, and CCTOP seeks to ensure that an NYU education is within reach for these students,” said Dominic Brewer, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of  the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “We are grateful to the Petrie Foundation for partnering with us to invest in our students’ futures.”

“As a foundation dedicated to improving the lives of young people in New York City through education, we are pleased to support NYU and CCTOP,” said Beth Lief, executive director of the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation. “CCTOP has enabled many talented students to successfully transfer from two-year colleges to NYU; this scholarship support will expand the number of transfer students who earn high-value, four-year NYU degrees.”

CCTOP celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. More than 1,800 students have graduated from NYU through CCTOP, making it among the largest programs helping students transfer from public community colleges to a private research institution.

CCTOP's 25th Anniversary and Graduates Were Celebrated on @NYUSteinhardt Instagram

“NYU was founded in 1831 with an explicit dedication to serve the children of the working men and women of New York City,” said Ann Marcus, founder of CCTOP and director of the Steinhardt Institute of Higher Education Policy. “Even as the University has expanded and risen to become a leading research university, it has kept that commitment to access and diversity. CCTOP students enlarge this tradition as they enrich our programs.”

Students enrolling in NYU through CCTOP receive generous scholarship support to reduce the financial barriers to a four-year degree, in addition to advising and support from before they enroll through their graduation from NYU.

CCTOP partners with 14 community colleges in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to admit transfer students. Currently, CCTOP enrolls approximately 70 community college transfer students each year. The Petrie Foundation’s grant will enable NYU to recruit and enroll 20 to 25 additional students into CCTOP in each of the next three years.

In addition, CCTOP students have historically had the option to enroll in one of three schools at NYU: the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, the Silver School of Social Work, or the School of Professional Studies Paul McGhee Division. Students pursue a wide variety of disciplines, including education, social work, and media and communication.

The new funding will help expand CCTOP to include NYU’s College of Nursing. New CCTOP nursing students will enroll in the fall of 2016.

“The Community College Transfer Opportunity Program brings new energy to support nursing students at NYU. Nursing is a profession that provides a career ladder for many, thus, engagement with community college graduates is key to fulfilling nursing’s contribution to the health needs of society,” said Eileen Sullivan-Marx, dean of the NYU College of Nursing and the Erline Perkins McGriff professor of nursing.

CCTOP was founded in 1990 as part of NYU Steinhardt. Its central goal is to ensure the doors to a world-class NYU education remain open to community college students who have the necessary academic talent and motivation, without regard to income or family background. To learn more, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu/cctop.

 

At Autism Symposium, Steinhardt and NYU Polytechnic Faculty Share Research Findings

Faculty members from Steinhardt and NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering discussed how applied research can help enrich the lives of children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at “Beyond the Spectrum:  Equipping Students and Adults in their Daily Lives.”  The event was the second installation of NYU’s three-part symposium, “Autism Spectrum Disorder Research and Action” which brings together faculty from NYU’s colleges to share autism research with the community.

“When we look at issues related to autism it is crucial to have many voices and points of view contributing both to research and action,” said Steinhardt Dean Dominic Brewer remarking on the value of cross-school research and conversation.  “This collaboration holds great promise for enabling us to use every tool we have and every great mind at NYU, to find solutions to the puzzle of autism.”

The Center for Disease Control recently announced that 1 in 68 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism; a 30% increase from 1 in 88 two years ago. Though statistics are overwhelming, NYU researchers emphasized how solutions that draw from an individual’s distinctive abilities can ultimately be used to enhance their lives and ameliorate some of the hardship associated with living with ASD.

Associate Professor Luke DuBois and School of Engineering adjunct faculty member, Beth Rosenberg, spoke about Tech Kids Unlimited, an after-school technology program that has been designed to empower and inspire the next generation of young people with autism to develop and share the tools of technology.

Rosenberg founded Tech Kids Unlimited in 2009, after realizing that her son, a “different learner,” loved technology but wasn’t being exposed to it during the school day.  The program, which is conducted at NYU’s ABILITY Lab in Downtown Brooklyn,  teaches participants 21st century technology skills and engages the talents of NYU students who work one-on-one with children in the program.

Strengthening social communication behavior in children with autism was the topic of a presentation by Christina Reuterskiöld, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at NYU Steinhardt.

In a presentation titled, “Going Beyond Deficits,” Steinhardt Associate Professor Kristie Koenig, described how students thrive when “strength-based” principles are integrated into their education and leisure time activities.

She advised professionals to “push past stigma and symptoms to see the person underneath,” noting that it is essential to use what might be considered an “obsessive interest,” to foster learning and social connectedness.

Koenig is chair of Steinhardt’s Department of Occupational Therapy, and principal investigator of its ASD Nest Program.

(Photo, left to right:  Steinhardt Dean Dominic Brewer, Luke DuBois, Beth Rosenberg, Christina Reuterskiöld, and Kristie Koenig.  Credit:  Christie Leece.)

Ruthie Ann Miles, Steinhardt Alumna, Receives Tony Nomination for “The King and I”

Steinhardt alumna Ruthie Ann Miles (MM ’07) is among seven NYU alumni to receive Tony Award nominations.  The nominees were reccognized for excellence in producing, acting, scenic design, and costume design.

Miles, who was nominated for her performance as Madame Thiang in “The King and I,” recently played Imelda Marcos in “Here Lies Love.”  For that role, she was awarded the 2014 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2013 Theatre World Award for outstanding debut performance in an-off Broadway performance.

The American Theatre Wing’s Annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards honor excellence on Broadway in twenty-four categories. The nominees are selected by an independent committee of  theatre professionals appointed by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. Tony Award winners will be announced at the 2015 Tony Awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 7, hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming at Radio City Music Hall.

NYU alumni who received nominations:

Best Musical

Fun Home
Barbara Whitman, ’88 (Gallatin, BA), producer

The Visit
Ken Davenport ’94 (Tisch, BFA, Drama), producer
Tom Smedes, ’85 (Gallatin, BA), producer
Tom Kirdahay ’85 (BA, Washington Square College) and ’88 (JD, School of Law)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Ruthie Ann Miles, ’07 (Steinhardt, MM, Vocal Performance), The King and I

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Brandon Uranowitz ’08 (Tisch, BFA, Drama), An American in Paris

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
David Zinn ’91 (BFA, Department of Design for Stage & Film), Fun Home

Best Costume Design of a Play
David Zinn ’91 (BFA, Department of Design for Stage & Film), Airline Highway

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes ’83 (BFA, Department of Design for Stage & Film), Something Rotten!

For more information about the Tony Awards, visit here.