Fourth member of Fairfield's Class of 1997 awarded Fulbright Scholarship Fairfield University history professor's book on Bridgeport's Socialist history receives 2002 Homer D. Babbidge, Jr. Award Fairfield University business school dean and labor relations expert available to comment on possible MTA strike and the impact it could have on Connecticut New program offered to gifted students in grades one through six World-renowned filmmaker Ismail Merchant to speak at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts Fairfield University holds Open Houses for Adult Education Programs Four Fairfield University students awarded Freeman-ASIA scholarships for study in China Fairfield University's School of Nursing programs receive esteemed CCNE accreditation Theatreworks/USA brings its winning "Sarah, Plain and Tall" to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts Fairfield University assistant professor publishes first instrument for Spanish speakers that tests patient satisfaction with nursing care Historian Manning Marable to speak at Fairfield University's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Eric Roland, an analyst for Anderson Consulting in Hartford and formerly of North Attleboro, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for study and research in Uruguay starting in February. A graduate in May of Fairfield University, he became the 12th student or alumnus of the University is the past five years to receive the award, created by Congress and considered the most prestigious awarded by the United States for study overseas.
Currently a resident of Manchester, Conn., Eric says his parents impressed upon him the value of an education coupled with learning outside the classroom. His father, Charles is a high school English at Barrington High School in Barrington, R.I., and his mother Loretta is a kindergarten aide at the Woodcock School in North Attleboro.
As a student at Fairfield, Eric was an arts and sciences major in international studies with minors in economics, marketing and Spanish. In addition, he was a market researcher in the university's Center for Global Competitiveness and served as an intern in New York with Vidal, Reynardus and Moya, a Spanish advertising agency.
While an undergraduate, he traveled to Ecuador as a Mission Volunteer and assisted impoverished families by teaching classes in Spanish and English and vocational subjects including graphic arts. Eric has also studied abroad in Spain where he spent a semester in Seville during his junior year.
For his Fulbright project, he has been granted a leave by Anderson Consulting starting in February and he will research "The Role of Uruguay in Mercosur," a trade bloc comprised of Uruguay, Argentine, Brazil and Paraguay. Eric will analyze the economic and political stability of Uruguay and will intern in the office of the secretary of Mercosur in the capital city of Montevideo while taking courses at the Jesuit Catholic University of Uruguay.
At Fairfield University, he joined in a wide variety of activities as co-captain of the cross-country team, a member of the All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Academic Team and was the Alumni Association's male Scholar-Athlete of 1996. Other projects include service as floor representative for his residence hall's government, a member of the class of 1997 council, a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics Honor Society), tour guide for the Admission Department, Eucharistic minister for the Campus Ministry Program, and coordinator for the Residence Hall Government.
Meanwhile, Dr. Beverly Kahn, the faculty advisor to students applying for Fulbright Scholarships, reported Christhy Vidal '97 is researching democratization in Argentina where she recently attended a reception with President Clinton and a lecture by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Christhy was admitted to Harvard Law School with deferred admission until the fall 1998.
Jae Jun '97 is in Seoul, South Korea, conducting neuroscience research; Dan Cook '97 is in Chile researching the wine industry; and Mike Allison '96 is in El Salvador completing his research on the politics of that country.
Posted on December 1, 1997
Frustration with the corruption and ineptitude in Bridgeport's municipal government brought labor unions and ethnic communities in the city together many years ago.
Those groups effected a stunning 1933 electoral victory that saw the Socialist party sweep to power, taking the mayor's seat and half the city council from the traditional Democrat and Republican parties. The exciting history behind that fantastic triumph, which saw slate roofer Jasper McLevy become mayor, is masterfully told in Cecelia Bucki's book, "Bridgeport's Socialist New Deal, 1915-36," (University of Illinois Press).
The Association for the Study of Connecticut History recently awarded Dr. Bucki's book the 2002 Homer D. Babbidge, Jr. Award, which is given for the best work on a significant aspect of Connecticut's history published the year before.
"It starts with the question, 'why was the socialist party elected in 1933?'" said Dr. Bucki, an associate professor of history at Fairfield University. Frustration during the Great Depression with the reigning political parties, both tainted and ineffective, drove Bridgeport's population to seek an alternative. The Bridgeport Socialist Party was composed of moderate socialists, Dr. Bucki said. "The politics of Bridgeport illuminate the New Deal in the state of Connecticut," Dr. Bucki said.
"Her investigation of the city's industrial boom during the first World War and subsequent labor issues illustrates how the working class agenda eventually led to capturing City Hall," said Amy Trout, a member of the awards committee, and curator at the New Haven Colony Historical Society.
"This is a book that shows how valuable local history is into understanding broader issues such as Socialist movement and New Deal reform efforts."
"Indeed, Dr. Bucki's book is a path-breaking case study of a labor community coalition with an alternative vision of organizing an industrial city in the heart of the depression," said Dr. David McFadden, Ph.D., and chair of Fairfield University's history department.
"This is a faculty member at Fairfield University who tells exciting stories about a part of Bridgeport's history that most people don't know," Dr. McFadden said.
And those stories have plenty of cachet today.
Dr. Bucki tells of the birth of Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course, a work-relief project favored by the Democratic mayor Edward Buckingham in 1931, but a symbol to many of the inability of the leading party to understand the needs of the people. McLevy seized upon this during his unsuccessful 1931 campaign, railing at his opponent:
"While hundreds of thousands of dollars are being sunk in a golf course in the town of Fairfield, the administration can find no funds to provide sewers that are sorely needed in Bridgeport, nor can it find money to improve streets within the city."
Social activism was strong at the time, Dr. Bucki said. Perhaps, she suggested, it was because this was a political party unlike the mainstream Democrat and Republican parties, with a clear program and message that spoke to the needs of the ordinary citizen. The people of Bridgeport came out by the hundreds for the street corner Socialist rallies during the campaign season, Dr. Bucki said.
"Dr. Bucki's book is a groundbreaking examination of an amazing period in Bridgeport's history," said Orin Grossman, Ph.D., academic vice president at Fairfield University. "She combines social history with an acute sense of the local political scene to fashion an illuminating look at one of the great working class cities in America. She richly deserves this wonderful recognition."
Editors: Dr. Bucki is available for interviews. You can reach her at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2307.
Posted on November 15, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 128
As the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority attempts to hammer out a new contract with the Transport Workers Union, the possibility of a strike - shutting down the New York City subway and bus system that thousands use every day - looms large. Norman Solomon, Ph.D., labor relations expert and dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University, is available to comment on the labor negotiations as well as the business and transportation impact a strike could have on southwestern Connecticut.
Dr. Solomon, who specializes in negotiation, industrial relations and labor-management relations, has published in refereed journals and is the co-author of a book, "The System of Industrial Relations in Canada (Fifth Edition)" printed by Prentice-Hall Canada in 1996.
Dr. Solomon earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in industrial and labor relations; and a master's degree and doctorate in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin. He also holds a certificate in management and leadership in education from Harvard University.
To contact Dr. Solomon, please call the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at (203) 254-4000, ext. 4070.
Posted on December 10, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 141
Fairfield University to host Summer Institute for the Gifted day program
Academically gifted and talented students who are currently in grades one through six now have a summer day program that will allow them to take advantage of advanced academic and recreational activities that have only been available to older-age children. The three-week program, created and offered by the Summer Institute for the Gifted and University College at Fairfield University, is designed for students who need academically challenging opportunities that stretch their abilities, expand their knowledge and engage them in creative and active learning.
"Next summer marks the first time gifted and talented students who are currently in grades one through six will have the opportunity to study in our program at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut," said Stephen Gessner, president of the Summer Institute for the Gifted, a 20-year-old academic program that has grown to more than 1,600 students from more than 43 states and 20 countries. SIG is a subsidiary of the American Institute For Foreign Study.
Young gifted students need engaging and challenging experiences to ensure their advanced abilities are developed and that learning is exciting, engaging and meaningful. The SIG Day Program exists to meet the needs of these academically advanced students. SIG blends challenging academic experiences and opportunities for cultural exchange and social growth with recreation and traditional summer camp fun.
The SIG Day Program provides instruction in more than 30 academic and creative courses as well as recreational activities every day. The courses cover humanities, sciences and mathematics, and visual and performing arts. Every student selects three courses and each class (of up to 15 students plus a teacher's assistant) meets five times a week for 90 minutes.
Total cost of the SIG Day Program at Fairfield University is $1,475 per student. That fee includes application fee, tuition, all laboratory fees and course materials, recreational program costs, special programs, lunch and snacks. Deadline for applications is May 15, 2003 and should be submitted as soon as possible. Classes start July 21 and end on August 8, 2003.
The course work at SIG is challenging, fast-paced and engaging. Students must have the appropriate ability, motivation and commitment to benefit from these demanding and exciting courses. SIG requires evidence of high academic ability and/or achievement be submitted with the application. Academically talented students currently in grades one through six who have scored in the 95th percentile or above in at least one of the major content areas or ability sections of a nationally normed standardized test administered by their schools, or students who have been identified as gifted and/or who have participated successfully in a local or school gifted program will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. A letter of recommendation from a teacher, school administrator or parent is also acceptable. All participants in gifted and talented competitions are also welcome to apply.
"SIG teachers provide the best possible academic experience for each student. Our staff has extensive experience and receives additional training on strategies for teaching academically gifted students," explained Gessner. In addition to traditional methods, such as direct instruction and question and answer sessions, instructors use hands-on methods of learning that promote active participation, creativity and higher order thinking skills. Such strategies include debate, construction of models, simulations, legal briefs, field trips and demonstrations and projects that involve high levels of participatory learning.
"SIG developed this program in response to parents' requests for non-residential instruction for their younger children," explained Gessner. "Young children may not be ready to be away from home, so we developed the SIG Day Program for these younger gifted students to experience exciting academic programs on a college campus and still be home for dinner every night." The regular day will begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Extended day hours will be available before and after the regular day.
Established in 1942, Fairfield University is ranked "highly competitive" by Barron's Profiles of American Colleges. In addition to its extensive academic, cultural and recreational facilities, it has an exceptional library with connections to many other libraries in the area. Special learning facilities include an art gallery, radio station, TV station, media center and concert hall.
The Summer Institute for the Gifted's regular program is tailored for students who are currently in grades four through 11 and want to experience learning and living on a college campus for three weeks during the summer. Students choose from a variety of more than 80 academic, cultural and recreational courses on five college campuses: Amherst College, Bryn Mawr College, Drew University, Oberlin College and Vassar College.
For additional information about the SIG Day Program or other Summer Institute for the Gifted programs, interested parties should call toll free (866) 303-4744 or visit its Web site at www.giftedstudy.com.
The American Institute For Foreign Study (www.aifs.com) is a private U.S. company based in Stamford, Conn. In addition to its programs for elementary through college students, AIFS also organizes U.S. programs for foreign students including Academic Year in America for foreign high school students, and its two J-visa programs, Camp America, under which foreign students work as summer camp counselors, and Au Pair in America which provides child care to U.S. families.
Contact: Jason Kannon
Summer Institute for the Gifted
Posted on December 15, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 139
Filmmaker Ismail Merchant, the producer and business brain behind "A Room With a View," "The Remains of the Day" and a host of other acclaimed films, will speak on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. His lecture is part of Open VISIONS Forum, a program of University College.
With director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Mr. Merchant has turned Merchant Ivory Productions into one of the world's leading independent film companies, respected for making high-quality films on remarkably low budgets. Their 32-year collaboration has spawned more than 16 feature films, including several visually stunning literary adaptations.
"We are committed to making civilized films," Mr. Merchant once said of his work, "films that say something about our life and our time."
Mr. Merchant has been saying something about his life and time since he was a young boy. Born Ismail Noor Mohammed Abdul Rehman in 1936, Mr. Merchant was the only son in a family of seven children from Bombay, India. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a middle-class Muslim trader and president of the Bombay branch of the Muslim League.
It was his father's ties to politics that gave young Ismail his first taste of the power of the stage. At just nine years of age, he delivered a passionate speech on the division of India at a political rally that drew 10,000 people and became a turning point in his life. In Robert Emmet Long's book "The Films of Merchant Ivory," he compared his film career to that moment, saying once he started "there was no going back, no stopping."
Mr. Merchant's parents hoped he would become a business professional, so they enrolled him in both Muslim and Jesuit schools to give him the best English schooling offered in Bombay. But his interest in drama was evident in the variety shows he staged when he was in secondary school. He continued to stage shows to pay for some of his education at St. Xavier's College, where he studied political science and literature. In 1958, Mr. Merchant graduated with enough money to pay for travel expenses and his tuition for a master's degree in business administration at New York University.
Outside of classes, Mr. Merchant immersed himself in art and culture, taking in the films of Ingmar Bergman, Vittorio De Sica and Federico Fellini. He was intrigued by the idea that such remarkable films were made outside the studio system.
While a student, Mr. Merchant worked as a messenger for the Indian delegation to the United Nations and as an advertising account executive, jobs that gave him enough contacts to help create his first short film, 1960's "The Creation of Woman." It was well received, so Mr. Merchant - who was low on funds, but high on creativity - decided to leave for Hollywood.
In 1961, he met James Ivory at a screening and, within months, the two christened their own production company. Later that year, they met novelist/screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and an enduring partnership began.
Their first films, including "The Householder" and "Shakespeare Wallah," were not very popular in India, perhaps because they depicted a Western viewpoint. It wasn't until 1979 that their success with "The Europeans" ushered in an era of lush literary adaptions, such as "The Bostonians," "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge," and "Howard's End."
While all the films have won wide acclaim, the team's 1986 adaptation of E.M. Forster's "A Room With a View" was a blockbuster, grossing $60 million. Not bad for a film shot on $3 million, considered a paltry sum by Hollywood standards.
Film industry experts credit Mr. Merchant for keeping costs low. The producer "represents the paradox of being intensely and deeply idealistic and intensely and deeply practical," according to Mr. Long's book. It's a tribute to both his persuasive style and his respected talent that he has convinced top stars, including Paul Newman, Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave, to agree to relatively low salaries to be in his movies.
Earlier this year, Mr. Merchant and Mr. Ivory, whose films have won six Academy Awards, were given the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Academy Fellowship at the United Kingdom's main film awards ceremony. Some of the biggest names in the industry - Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg among them - have received this high honor.
In recent years, Mr. Merchant has directed four films, including 2002's "The Mystic Masseur," an adaptation of VS Naipaul's novel. He takes such work very seriously.
"When you're taking Henry James or E.M. Forster or Evan S. Connell, you don't want to muck about with their work," he said. "You want to present it in the most passionate manner there is."
Tickets for Merchant's lecture are $18, $15 for senior citizens. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.
Posted on December 15, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 132
Adults return to school for many reasons: to update their business credentials, start or finish a college degree, or obtain a professional certificate. To help the adult learner achieve personal and professional goals University College at Fairfield University offers convenient and flexible programs.
University College will host two evening Open Houses on Monday, Jan. 6, and Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2003, from 5 to 7:00 p.m. at the David J. Dolan House on the north side of the campus. Guests will have an opportunity to meet with Fairfield University advisers and staff who can provide information on both credit and non-credit part-time education programs for the spring semester that begins on Monday, Jan. 13.
Through University College, part-time students can earn bachelor degrees, completely through evening classes, in accounting, communication, engineering, English, history, marketing, nursing, and psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree.
University College also offers many day and evening professional certificate programs for career enhancement in the areas of business, clinical research, financial planning, computer graphic design, human resource management and professional writing. Saturday, online and web-enhanced courses are offered as well.
To make a reservation to attend University College's Open House, please call 203-254-4110 or toll free 888-254-1566 or email an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. For directions to Fairfield University's campus, program listings or more information, please visit www.fairfield.edu.
Posted on December 15, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 146
Four Fairfield University students have been awarded $5,000 scholarships to help defray costs of a semester-long study in Beijing, China and Tokyo, Japan. Funded by the Freeman Foundation, the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia, are administered by the nonprofit Institute of International Education.
Three of the scholarship winners, along with a fifth student who did not apply for the scholarship, will be participating in The Beijing Center, a Jesuit consortial program for study in China. Those students will spend the Spring 2003 semester at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. The fourth scholarship recipient will study at Sophia University, a Jesuit institution that is one of the most prestigious universities in Japan.
Junior Mary Claire Finnen, of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., was attracted to the program and the opportunity to study in Asia.
"I really liked the intensive language component," said Finnen, who has never taken Chinese. Finnen also appreciated the opportunity to take trips throughout the semester to other parts of China. Asian destinations are less popular when students consider places to study abroad, Finnen said.
"A lot of people go to Europe," said Finnen, an International Studies major.
She's right. According to a recent survey by the Institute of International Education, more than 60 percent of U.S. students studying abroad headed to Europe, while about 5 percent selected East or Southeast Asia. Indeed, while about 5,000 Americans are studying in East and Southeast Asia, more than 250,000 students from that area are studying in the United States.
"The goal of the Freeman-Asia Program is to increase the number of U.S. undergraduates who study in East and Southeast Asia. The Jesuit Beijing program gives undergraduates, even undergraduates with no Chinese language background, an opportunity to experience this important world culture," said Susan M. Fitzgerald, director of Study Abroad Programs at Fairfield University. "We are delighted Fairfield University has four Freeman Scholars! These students will return to campus with enviable knowledge about a part of the world few Americans understand."
Fairfield's four recipients are among 120 students nationwide who received grants for the spring, according to IIE. The agency received 365 applications for the grants, which are awarded based on financial need as well as academics.
"Not too many Americans can speak East Asian languages," said Michael Mercer, a Fairfield junior and one of those few who can. Mercer has already taken three semesters of Mandarin Chinese and hopes the immersion in Beijing will improve his speaking abilities.
"We'll have a need for Chinese," said Mercer, of Westerly, R.I. Mercer, who has a double major in International Studies and French, is already fluent in the latter.
Kristie Givens, of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., has always been interested in Asian culture. She is taking advantage of the opportunity to visit that area of the world while she is still in school.
Givens wants to attend law school when she graduates and possibly work on political asylum cases. She hopes her experiences in Beijing will enhance her ability to do that work.
"I think it's so fascinating because it's so different from our culture," said Givens, a junior English major.
Jennilee Lindo, a junior with majors in Asian Studies and politics, will spend a semester in Tokyo, Japan.
Upon their return to Fairfield University, the students will visit various International Studies and Asian Studies classes to share their experiences with other students, said Katherine Kidd, Ph.D., director of the International Studies program at Fairfield.
"These students will demystify Asia as a study abroad location," Dr. Kidd said. "We hope it will encourage more students to consider minoring in Asian studies and studying for a semester or year in Asia."
Alan Katz, Ph.D., director of the Asian Studies Program at Fairfield, agreed.
"This is a wonderful sign that we have a number of strong students wanting to study in Asia next semester and that their studies have been supported by the Freeman Foundation," Dr. Katz said. "Asia, after all, contains some of the largest, most important nations in the world and is an area of great dynamism and diversity."
Posted on December 15, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 145
Fairfield University's School of Nursing has received accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for its baccalaureate and master's degree programs.
CCNE is a prestigious national accrediting agency which evaluates undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing education. Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, CCNE assesses and identifies programs that engage in effective educational practices in the preparation of nurses.
Receiving the CCNE's stamp of excellence indicates a high level of accreditation, said Jeanne M. Novotny, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing. "This is the gold standard in baccalaureate and graduate nursing school accreditations," she said. "More and more baccalaureate and graduate programs are considering moving toward CCNE accreditation - so we're ahead of the curve."
Fairfield's accreditation is the result of a three-day, on-campus review by CCNE. Last April, four evaluators visited campus, examined the standards report prepared prior to their visit, and met with University administrators, nursing faculty, and students. According to Dr. Novotny, preparation for the visit took nearly a year, during which School of Nursing faculty and administrators engaged in an extensive self-study that examined the nursing programs' mission, goals, and curricula. Dr. Novotny credits the dedication and perseverance of the nursing faculty for the success of the CCNE review.
"This accreditation couldn't have happened without them," she said. "The faculty made continuous efforts to meet all of the standards and the benchmarks they themselves set for excellence in nursing education."
The School of Nursing met all four accreditation standards of quality and effectiveness: mission and governance of the nursing programs; institutional commitment and resources from the University; curriculum and teaching-learning practices; and student performance and faculty accomplishments.
"The recent accreditation from CCNE is a tribute to the hard work and great talents of the nursing faculty and administrators," said Dr. Orin Grossman, academic vice president at Fairfield. "They came together to tackle complex issues of curricular development and assessment, among others, and developed a plan that convinced the accrediting agency that they deserved this important 'seal of approval.' I am greatly pleased for the Nursing School and I congratulate the faculty and staff for their excellent work."
Although Fairfield's nursing programs are accredited for five years, and the next review isn't until spring 2007, Dr. Novotny said that she and the nursing faculty are already preparing for that visit - with an expectation to renew their mark of excellence.
Posted on December 17, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 137
"Sarah, Plain and Tall," a touching musical about loss and hope, takes the stage at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Friday. Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. as part of the center's "ArtsBound" Schoolday Series. The outreach program is sponsored by Regina A. Quick, The Educational Foundation of America and The Kiwanis Club of Fairfield.
Based on Patricia McLachlan's Newberry Medal-winning novel, "Sarah, Plain and Tall" tells the story of lonely widower Jacob Witting and his daughter, Anna, and son, Caleb, who are trying to eke out a living on the windswept Kansas prairie at the turn of the last century. It's set in motion when his newspaper ad for a new bride attracts Sarah Elizabeth Wheaton, an independent woman living with her brother's family in coastal Maine. Sarah's sister-in-law is none to pleased with Sarah's outspoken ways and tosses her out of the house, leaving the single woman to travel west for a one-month trial stay with the still-grieving Witting family.
Sarah's adaptability and innate goodness bring happiness to the house, which has been devoid of joy and song since Witting's wife died in childbirth. Through her spirit, the family learns to live and love again.
Hailed by The New York Times as "a virtually unalloyed delight," "Sarah, Plain and Tall" is directed by Joe Calarco from a book by Julia Jordan. The show includes the memorable tunes by Neil Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe.
Theatreworks/USA is the nation's largest professional not-for-profit theater company for young audiences. The company has brought its lively shows to such far-flung venues as Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center and Native American reservations in the Dakotas.
"Sarah, Plain and Tall" won raves at its 2002 New York premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Critics from the New York Daily News, Variety and Broadway.com all commented that the show was as entertaining and moving for children in the audience as for the adults who accompanied them.
"Mixing deep yearnings, comedy, lively song and music, and excellent performances, 'Sarah, Plain and Tall' is a fine addition to Theatreworks' formidable lineup," wrote Times reviewer Lawrence Van Gelder.
Tickets are $5 and school group study guides are available. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.
Posted on December 17, 2002
Vol. 35, No. 136
Language barriers and cultural differences have caused Hispanic Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic population in the United States, to be underrepresented, and sometimes misrepresented, in health care research, said Jean W. Lange, RN, MN, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at Fairfield University.
According to Dr. Lange's research, which has been published in the October edition of Research in Nursing & Health, the lack of Spanish-speaking researchers, a lack of Spanish testing instruments, and cultural differences, have all contributed to marginalization of Hispanics in healthcare research and sometimes accidentally biased results.
Dr. Lange has made a step forward in correcting that problem by translating a widely used patient satisfaction survey from English to Spanish. Her results on this effort were published in the December edition of the nursing journal.
Translating an English survey to Spanish isn't a simple matter of pulling out a bilingual dictionary. Often times, the wording of questions within a study can be misconstrued by Spanish-speakers because the original English wording may not be meaningful in Spanish. It is critical to learn whether what is being measured is defined the same way among Hispanic sub groups as it is among English speakers. This can become very complex because there are many different Hispanic cultures in the United States.
In many cases, traditional English response formats, such as "strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree," are often too vague and do not retain their different degrees of separation when translated. Such seemingly innocuous linguistic interpretations are actually major problems that skew responses from the Hispanic populace, Dr. Lange said.
Dr. Lange dealt with those problems in her Spanish translation of the 15-item LaMonica-Oberst Patient Satisfaction With Nursing Care Scale, which she tested on 64 Spanish-speaking patients. For example, an original item in the English version read "The nurse gives directions at just the right speed." However the English back translation of the line in Spanish she used to effectively convey that idea is: "The nurse gives precise instructions so that I can understand them." Another item changed from "the nurse sees that I get physical assistance when I need it," to "the nurse takes responsibility to find someone who can help me with my daily activities, such as bathing, feeding, etc."
"Nothing is ever perfect with research," said Dr. Lange, noting that her own translated measure still shows some skewing and needs further refinement. "While mine's not perfect, it's the only Spanish instrument out there right now to measure patient satisfaction with nursing care. This is very important because, as a key indicator of quality care, as defined by the Institute of Medicine, many researchers are interested in measuring this variable."
The Hispanic population in the United States has been projected to reach 15 percent of total population by the year 2020, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Health care professionals seeking federal funding find themselves in need of reliable measures of satisfaction for Spanish-speakers because the National Institute of Health requires that grant applications provide adequate representation of all ethnic and racial groups. This requirement includes groups that may be marginalized due to language, socioeconomic status, or other reasons. Researchers are already turning to Dr. Lange's tool to include Hispanic patients in their studies.
Determining patient satisfaction with their health care experience has become even more crucial in today's cost-conscious environment, Dr. Lange said. Leaving a significant portion of the nation's citizenry out of studies on patient satisfaction is unacceptable, Dr. Lange said.
"The work that Jean is doing has implications for the health care of Hispanics not only in this country but internationally," said Jeanne M. Novotny, Ph.D., FAAN, dean of Fairfield University's School of Nursing. "Jean is one of the top researchers in this field, and her hard work reflects the School of Nursing's overall commitment to research."
Dr. Robin D. Froman, RN, FAAN, Associate Dean of Research in the School of Nursing at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston has commented on Dr. Lange's research.
"Jean Lange has provided an excellent model for our new researchers in healthcare," Dr. Froman said. "She has taken seriously the federal mandate that we improve representation of all segments of the population in research studies. Jean's work allows Spanish speakers a greater voice in research on satisfaction with health care services. I use her research as an example with my own doctoral students who are preparing to enter the arena of nursing research."
Posted on January 2, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 133
Dr. Manning Marable, one of America's most influential historians and political interpreters of the black experience, will be the speaker at Fairfield University's Martin Luther King Jr. Human Relations Convocation on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 3 p.m., in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. His talk is part of a three-day observance that celebrates the life and achievements of the slain civil rights leader and has as its theme, "Reinventing the Dream: Creating a New Diversity Through Knowledge and Power."
Perhaps the most widely read intellectual within the African American community, Dr. Marable is the author of 13 books, including "Black Leadership," (1998); "Black Liberation in Conservative America" (1997); "Beyond Black and White" (1995) and "Black American Politics" (1985). Since 1976, he has written "Along the Color Line," a syndicated political affairs series that appears regularly in over 400 black-owned and black-oriented mass publications in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean and India.
Frequently called upon to comment on the history and politics of race in the United States, Dr. Marable has appeared on CNN's "Talk-Back Live," C-SPAN, the NBC "Today Show," ABC "Weekend News," the "Charlie Rose" show and BBC television and radio, among others.
Since 1993 Dr. Marable has been professor of history and political science at Columbia University where he also serves as the founding Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies. Before that he taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Ohio State University and Colgate University, where he was the founding director of the Africana and Hispanic Studies Program.
In January 1999, Dr. Marable initiated "Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society." A quarterly journal, it examines key theoretical issues within black America, Africa and the Caribbean.
In 2001, he initiated the "Malcolm X Project" at Columbia University. The research project includes the development of a Malcolm X e-course; an electronic multimedia version of Alex Haley's "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," and other writings on Malcolm X.
Most recently, in 2002, Dr. Marable launched the "Africana Criminal Justice Project" with funding from the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation). The project encourages the development of civic capacity building and leadership training among former prisoners, and proposes fundamental legal reforms within the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex.
Other MLK Events
On Tuesday, Jan. 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration opens with a Multicultural Marketplace in the lobby of the Barone Campus Center. Merchants will be offering a wide array of products from various cultures and Dr. Marable's book will be available for purchase.
Tuesday evening from 6 to 10 p.m., Sodexho, the university's food service, is helping to arrange a special, culturally diverse dinner for all students in the Barone Center Oak Room. Students will use their usual dinner card or pay the standard dinner fee.
Following Dr. Marable's talk on Wednesday afternoon, a Vision Awards Dinner takes place in the dining room of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, beginning at 6 p.m. Honored at the dinner will be area leaders who received the Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Award earlier at the convocation for their "tireless effort to instill and inspire the teachings and ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. in today's youth."
On Thursday, Jan. 23, a Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Leadership Workshop for area middle school students will be held in the Barone Campus Center Oak Room from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In addition, a Civil Rights photography exhibit will be on view at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery on campus from Thursday, Jan. 23,through Sunday, March 23, with an opening reception with photographer James Hinton on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. An award-winning filmmaker, Mr. Hinton produced thousands of photographs from the Civil Rights era.
Posted on January 8, 2003
Vol. 35, No. 152a