College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University awarded grants for diversity course and project on China


Image: Betsy Gardner

The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University has received a $7,500 grant in support of a Diversity Seminar Course in the Psychology Department. Another $4,000 has been awarded to the College for a project entitled, "China: It's People and Culture."

Ellie Hawthorne, co-trustee with her brother for the Earl W. and Hildagunda A. Brinkman Family Foundation, based in Rochester, N.Y., has presented $7,500 to Elizabeth Gardner, Ph.D., professor of psychology, which she will use for the creation of a Diversity Seminar Course for senior psychology majors. The course, tentatively titled "Psychological Implications of the Concept of Race," would include knowledge of the psychology of discrimination, bias, and stereotypes as well as current literature on implicit measures of those items. Additional goals may include raising consciousness about diversity and justice issues related to differences, establishing a basis of conceptual understanding, and the development of skills for taking concrete action.

Ellie Hawthorne, a trustee of the foundation, earned her bachelor's in psychology and religious studies from Fairfield in 1985 and her master's in counseling from Fairfield's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions in 1988.

Ellie Hawthorne and her brother, as co-trustees of the family foundation, are responsible for choosing projects worthy of funding. Recalling her psychology classes at Fairfield, Ellie remembers Dr. Gardner as one of her outstanding teachers for both cognitive and neuro-psychology classes. As a result of this, Dr. Gardner was chosen to receive a grant from the Foundation.

The course will build upon the "Cognition, Culture, Race and Identity" psychology course that Dr. Gardner and Dr. Larri Mazon, director of Fairfield University's Center for Multicultural Relations, currently co-teach.

Dr. Gardner will work with Dr. Mazon and the Center, as well as the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, University College and other departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, to develop the new course.

"One of the things that we're considering is the possibility of adding a little bit more of a research element, to look more closely at attitudes and behaviors associated with race, culture and the other elements considered in the first course," said Dr. Mazon.

Image: Danke Li

In a separate award, Danke Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at Fairfield, has received $4,000 from the Bethesda, Md.-based Li Educational Foundation (no relation), in support of "China: Its People and Culture," a year-long series of programs.

The funding will support lectures, four film screenings, and performances by Chinese musicians, Dr. Li said. Matching support from the University will provide the resources for the creation of a web site for the Asian Studies program that will feature this project along with various other important achievements of the program's students and faculty.

"Recently, an article in the New York Times Magazine has declared that the 21st century is the Chinese Century," Dr. Li said. "The substantial role that China plays in today's global affairs requires us to provide quality education on China to our students. The events sponsored by the Li Educational Foundation will promote the awareness of the 'Chinese Century' at Fairfield."

Dr. Peter Kwong, Urban Affairs professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York and an expert on Chinese American immigrant and labor issues, will present the first lecture in the series on December 1. Another speaker will be scheduled for next semester.

For more information about the China lectures and events, contact Dr. Li at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2353.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 22, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 107