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Quick Hits

  • RWU’s Director of Media and Public Relations Earns Excellence in Public Service Award for Political Reporting

    Roger Williams University’s director of media and public relations received the Excellence in Public Service Award from Common Cause Rhode Island at a ceremony Thursday at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet.

    Prior to taking the role as the University’s director of media and public relations earlier this month, Edward Fitzpatrick had a long career in journalism, including 16 years at The Providence Journal and eight years as its political columnist. Fitzpatrick earned the award for his reporting on the importance of open and transparent government.

    The Excellence in Public Service Award is given to “public employees, members of commissions, journalists, community organizations, or individuals, whose integrity, courage or leadership in pursuit of open and accountable government exemplify Common Cause objectives,” according to the nonpartisan government watchdog group.

    “One of the best strokes of luck I’ve had in my career at Common Cause is being hired at the same time Ed was made the political columnist for the Journal,” said John Marion, director of Common Cause Rhode Island. “Over his almost eight years in that role showed himself to be a determined champion of topics ranging from ethics reform to judicial selection to public records, and Ed often turned to Common Cause as a voice on those topics.”

    In accepting the award, Fitzpatrick underscored the need for journalists and ordinary citizens alike who are dedicated to the effort of holding government accountable.

    “It is a great honor to receive the award,” said Fitzpatrick, who was joined at the ceremony by his family. “As a journalist, I often shared common ground with Common Cause. Whether the issue was access to public records or lobbying reform, merit selection for judges or a strong Ethics Commission, the goal was open and accountable government – and ultimately improving my home state. Now, I'm happy to be devoting my energy to Roger Williams University as it strives to make a difference here in Rhode Island, as this private university works for the public good.”

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  • Katrina Norvell to Lead the International Association for Research on Service-Learning & Community Engagement

    Roger Williams University’s Katrina Norvell has been appointed as leader of the executive board of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning & Community Engagement (IARSLCE), a prestigious nonprofit organization committed to advancing academic scholarship through service-learning and community-engaged work.

    At RWU, Norvell is a professor in the Master of Science in Leadership and Master of Public Administration programs at the School of Justice Studies, and serves as program director of the Baccalaureate in Public Administration program at the School of Continuing Studies. Norvell is also a member of the University’s Faculty Learning Community on the Ethics of Experiential Learning.

    This will be the second consecutive term Norvell has served on the IARSLCE executive board, where she served three years as co-chair of the conference oversight committee. She is also a section editor of the International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and a peer reviewer for the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning.

    In 2010, she was a co-recipient of the IARSLCE Dissertation Award. Her research expertise includes community-engaged leadership, public and nonprofit management and governance, program evaluation, ethical leadership, and organizational theory and behavior.

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  • GSB's Peter Dunn '12 Captures Spot on Worcester Business Journal's '40 Under 40' List

    For his work in improving Worcester's small business community, Peter Dunn '12 was recently named to Worcester Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list of the top young professionals in the greater Worcester area. Dunn — who holds degrees in Management, Economics, and Spanish from RWU — works as business programs manager for the City of Worcester's Executive Office of Economic Development, and he serves as co-chair of the Worcester Business Resource Alliance.

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  • Grant Supports Criminal Justice Professor’s Collaborative Work with East Bridgewater Police to Stem Opioid Epidemic

    A grant donated this week will advance the work of Roger Williams University Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Sean Varano and his research partner, Stonehill College Professor of Criminology Pam Kelly, to provide technical assistance for a groundbreaking law enforcement initiative that connects opioid addicts to treatment and services in East Bridgewater, Mass. Varano and his colleague are creating a case management database and software tools for EB HOPE, a nonprofit that coordinates with the local police department and Plymouth County Opiate Overdose Prevention Task Force to focus on substance-abuse intervention and prevention in an area of the state that has reached a crisis level of opioid overdoses and fatalities.

    The $2,310 grant from Bridgewater Savings Bank Charitable Foundation will fund their research and development of evaluation tools that will provide EB HOPE with the technological infrastructure needed to build case histories of individual addicts and track their progress over time. The software will also provide the nonprofit the ability to analyze which services are working most efficiently and where change may be needed to best serve those who need help gaining control over their addictions.

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  • Kate Marshall ’13 Receives Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Award

    An English teacher who dedicates just as much time to students outside the classroom as she does in the lecture hall, Kate Marshall ’13 was recently honored as Eastern Massachusetts New Vocational Technical Teacher of the Year. Each year, the Massachusetts Vocational Association presents the award to a new vocational high school teacher who “exemplifies excellence in teaching.”

    Marshall – an English literature and secondary education graduate from Roger Williams University – teaches English at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in her hometown of Billerica. A devoted educator, Marshall’s commitment to her students doesn’t end with the close of the school day – she also coaches the junior varsity basketball team, plays tunes as the disc jockey for school dances, and serves as freshman class advisor. 

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  • MNS Faculty Member Creates Learner-Centered Textbook on Environmental Studies

    Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Loren Byrne has published a college textbook designed to engage students in hands-on activities that promote a deeper learning of environmental and sustainability studies. As editor of "Learner-Centered Teaching Activities for Environmental and Sustainability Studies" – published in March 2016 – Byrne also wrote the introduction and two unique teaching activities . Among other featured educator resources, Byrne includes an exercise in which students distribute environmental amenities (such as parks) and negatively-perceived resources (like a coal-fired power plant) among themselves – which “opens a conversation about fairness and justice,” Byrne says, “as the students make the connection between justice and environmental concerns like access to greenspace and proximity to pollution, which have been found to be distributed unequally in real-world communities.” With few collections of instructional resources available that are focused on sustainability studies, Byrne aims to provide a one-stop source for teaching ecological concepts, scientific analysis and more through practical and comprehensive active learning exercises.

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  • Biology Faculty Member’s Book Examines Why Some People Dispute Evolutionary Science

    In a recently published book, Avelina Espinosa – associate professor of biology and coordinator of biotechnology programs at Roger Williams University – examines how religion and faith-based beliefs cause some people to reject the concept of evolution. “Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities” – coauthored by Espinosa and Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C, an evolutionary biologist and co-director, along with Espinosa, of New England Science Public at RWU – comprises the authors’ research into attitudes toward evolution at high-education institutions, with detailed analysis into the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who dispute evolutionary science versus those who accept it as scientific fact.

    The authors say that the root of the “evolutionary controversy” is an antagonism between personal religious convictions and the understanding and acceptance of science and evolution. The book includes more than 100 data tables, maps and more from information the authors collected over seven years.

    According to Niles Eldredge, curator emeritus of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, “the authors deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England – which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.”

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  • Campus Community Steps Out for 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes'

    Members of the campus community stepped out in style on Wednesday, April 27, for the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence event at Roger Williams University. The event, coordinated by RWU Women's Center Director Jennifer Stanley, raised $900 to benefit the Rhode Island Crisis Assistance Center. Each year, participants across the country come together in their communities to support the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes effort, which is described as "a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men's sexualized violence against women." More than 60 RWU participants -- the majority of them men -- donned women's shoes to walk around campus and get people talking about pervasive gender violence issues across the U.S. and worldwide.

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  • Rachael Nilson ’18 Awarded National Scholarship for Summer Research

    Rising junior biology major Rachael Nilson (Mansfield, Mass.) has been selected to join the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program – one of just 15 students nationwide to earn the honor. Nilson, whose research interests include environmental science, conservation biology, genetics and molecular cellular biology, will work alongside Dr. Alan Ross Morrison at Brown University in a lab affiliated with the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center. In addition to the summer research appointment, Nilson will also receive a $3,500 stipend as determined by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and she will present her research at a national symposium in August.

    Nilson has previously worked alongside Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Loren Byrne, most recently conducting literature reviews focused on ecology. 

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  • Graduate Psychology Student Honored for Work with Domestic, Sexual Assault Victims

    During the annual Victims’ Grove Ceremony on April 13, Rebekah Snyder, a graduate student of forensic psychology, was honored for her work to create the “Resource Guide for Collegiate Survivors of Sexual Assault” for colleges and universities in Rhode Island and for her volunteer advocacy at Day One – a sexual assault and trauma center in Providence – where she provides support and resources for survivors and served as interim advocacy coordinator managing the help line operations. She is also a member of the Statewide Sexual Assault Task Force and graduate assistant working in the Roger Williams University Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

    Snyder spent a year building the sexual assault guide for Day One, in collaboration with each university and college in the state, developing a comprehensive booklet of reporting policies, procedures and resources available at the institutions. It will be available on campuses, as well as hospitals, police stations and advocacy groups in May.

    At the April 13 ceremony in Providence – which was held in commemoration of National Victims’ Rights Week – Snyder was one of five recognized by R.I. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and other law enforcement leaders. Snyder also received a certificate of “Special Congressional Recognition” from U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

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