Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, gave an invited presentation at a workshop at the 15th International Conference of Robotic Rehabilitation (ICORR) at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, UK. The conference was a part of the London Rehab Week, where around a thousand attendees discussed the newest trends in neurorehabilitation. Konczak presented an overview on the current state of how robotic medical devices can be used to diagnose sensory and motor deficits of neurological diseases.
Elisheva Cohen and Anna Kaiper, graduate students in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), have been awarded 2017 Spencer Dissertation Fellowships from the National Academy of Education. This fellowship “seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These $27,500 fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world.”
Elishcova and Anna are both Ph.D. candidates studying comparative and international development education. Elishcova’s dissertation research, funded by a Fulbright Fellowship, employs ethnographic methods to examine the ways in which educational programs foster inclusive environments for Syrian refugees and country nationals in Jordan. Anna’s dissertation surrounds the English language learning of South African domestic workers drawing from both a postcolonial and poststructural framework.
Joan DeJaeghere, associate professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), recently presented on her new book to faculty and graduate students of Agricultural Economics and Business Studies at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. Morogoro is one of the sites for the study discussed in her book, Educating Entrepreneurial Citizens: Neoliberalism and Youth Livelihoods in Tanzania (Routledge). Her presentation and the book ask the question of how global discourses related to entrepreneurship education that aim to reduce youth unemployment and poverty get adapted and reshaped in local social and economic contexts of Tanzania. It examines how entrepreneurship education is reshaping the purpose of education for citizenship – that of engaging in work that allows youth to supposedly get out of poverty. But such entrepreneurship education doesn’t necessarily ensure these youth get out of poverty; however, additional education/training for marginalized youth can change the social relations that exclude them because they haven’t completed their education or worked in the formal labor market. We found in this study that it gives marginalized youth additional credentials to be “skilled people” and allows them to contribute, even minimally, to the economic wellbeing of the community. The book is based on research in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation’s Learn, Earn and Save Initiative, for which Joan serves as PI.
Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of the Behavioral Physical Activity Lab, was quoted in two online magazine articles for Highlights Magazine online. Barr-Anderson’s research interests focus on physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and obesity prevention in children and adolescents, and she used her expertise to answer questions and advise parents on how to aid their children in living an active lifestyle and combat the couch-potato culture.
Barr-Anderson is cited in two articles, titled “Struggle-Free Tips to Get Your Couch-Potato Kid Moving,” and “Why’s My Kid a Couch Potato: Is he Lazy…or Something Else?“. Theses pieces are part of the journal’s series “Smart Answers to Parents’ Toughest Questions”, which offers insight on what keeps children from being active, and tips on how to be active together.
“You can’t underestimate the importance of going outside together to throw around a ball or start a garden,” says Barr-Anderson. “You get movement and activity, and time spent together.”
Donald Dengel, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology, is the lead author of an article published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. The article, entitled “Impact of health status and lifestyle modifications on vascular structure and function in children and adolescents,” examined the effects of various lifestyle interventions (i.e., exercise, weight loss, etc.) on vascular structure and function in children and adolescents.
As part of a two-day visit to Budapest, Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, presented his work on robotic rehabilitation to members of the Wigner Research Centre for Physics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and toured a new rehabilitation clinic.
His Hungarian hosts comprised researchers with backgrounds in mathematics, physics, and cognitive neuroscience with an interest in modeling human movement and translating this knowledge to help patients with spinal cord injuries to regain function. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia) is the most important and prestigious academic society of Hungary. Its main responsibilities are the cultivation of science, dissemination of scientific findings, supporting research and development and representing Hungarian science domestically and around the world.
On June 20 and 21, roughly 500 of Minnesota’s education leaders, researchers, policy makers, and nonprofit organizations gathered at Educational Equity in Action II. This was the second convening hosted by the University of Minnesota. Its focus: improving educational equity by “Working across schools and communities to enhance social emotional learning.”
Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Co-author of the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future and co-developer of the Circle of Courage model, explained that trauma from oppression, like that experienced by the American Indian community, can span generations.
“Our culture is plagued by intergenerational trauma,” said Brokenleg, whose mother’s family was among those imprisoned at Fort Snelling. He cited the incredibly high suicide rate among Native people, especially in the 18-30 age group, and among people in Ireland and Scotland after generations of oppression by the British, whose methods not coincidentally were adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. “We’ve had a normal human reaction to an abnormal history.”
Brokenleg described his Circle of Courage model which supports character building or “teaching the heart” through generosity, belonging, independence, and mastery. Brokenleg finished his talk with practical strategies from Circle of Courage attendees could take back to their schools and communities to help young people—especially those suffering from intergenerational trauma—learn and grow.
- Visit Brokenleg’s website for resources on intergenerational trauma and the Circle of Courage.
- View an artist’s interpretation of Brokenleg’s keynote by Jen Mein.
Dr. Michael Rodriguez, professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, Jim and Carmen Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development, and co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center and the covening, led a plenary discussion on the results of the Minnesota Student Survey (MSS).
Rodriguez explained, although at a high-level the MSS tells a positive story about the developmental skills and supports of Minnesota youth, a closer look at the data demonstrates the reality of the inequities some students experience in Minnesota’s education system. This is particularly apparent for students identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB); students who skip school; students who receive disciplinary action in school; and students who have experienced trauma.
“Ninety-nine percent of our youth say their goal is to graduate from high school—and 65 to 85 percent across demographic groups also want to go to college,” said Rodriguez. “That’s a lot higher than our state’s high school graduation goal for them, which is now about 90 percent by 2020!”
He emphasized that students’ own goals are higher than those we’ve set as a state.
Following the plenary, students in Rodriguez’s Minnesota Youth Development Research Group (MYDRG) led detailed discussions on the MSS results for some of these groups, including: American Indian students, Hmong students, students in special education, LGB students, and students experiencing trauma.
Throughout the convening, participants selected from 28 smaller group breakout sessions on social-emotional learning led by University of Minnesota researchers, youth engagement groups, school districts, the Minneapolis Department of Education, and more. Several sessions included youth as presenters and/or focused on youth participatory action research projects.
Small group discussions
Before the final keynote, attendees participated in a process called TRIZ. They met in small groups—dividing themselves up based on the different developmental skills and supports students need to be successful (identified in Rodriguez’s work). Participants started with the unusual task of listing actions communities might take to destroy the skill being discussed in youth. Then, they shared opportunities they had to remove some of these destructive activities and developed action plans for their schools, communities, and organizations.
At the final session participants responded to the statement “I am committed to” with their commitments to take action on educational equity.
Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, associate professor in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, closed out the convening by challenging the group to practice culturally responsive school leadership (CRSL). He asked that school leaders promote schooling that addresses the specific cultural and learning needs of students by focusing on the perspectives of parents, students, and community members.
“Change in schools can be promoted and fostered by ‘leaders,’ but culturally responsive school leadership is practiced by all stakeholders,” said Khalifa. “Community-based based knowledge informs good leadership practice.”
In this statement, Khalifa connected his keynote to Rodriguez’ and Brokenleg’s work. Each of the speakers stressed the importance of listening to all members of our community to improve educational equity.
Khalifa ended his talk by sharing strategies to help attendees to achieve CRSL in their own schools, organizations, and communities.
Thank you to our sponsors
The Educational Equity in Action convening was created by the University of Minnesota’s Educational Equity Resource Center. This year’s event was organized in partnership with the University’s Office for Equity and Diversity and made possible by the Minneapolis Foundation, Youthprise, Jim and Carmen Campbell Leadership Chair in Education & Human Development, College of Education and Human Development, Department of Educational Psychology, and the College Readiness Consortium.
Two researchers in the Department of Educational Psychology, Alisha Wackerle-Hollman, senior research associate in school psychology, and Scott McConnell, professor of special education—along with Lori Erickson, assistant director in St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) Office of Early Learning, and colleagues—recently received a $400,000, two-year grant from the Institute for Education Sciences (IES). Their grant, “Addressing the Growing Diversity of Preschool Populations through Low Incidence Language Barriers: Hmong Language Development to Improve Assessment Approaches,” aims to explore, understand, and document Hmong language development.
“Our IGDILab team is pleased to partner with SPPS on such an important venture. We jointly recognize the importance of Hmong language development to the local community and look forward to learning how early language development affects young Hmong-English bilingual students’ language and literacy development,” said McConnell.
Wackerle-Hollman and Erickson will co-lead the project, focusing on the community’s expertise in Hmong language to understand how the language develops. St Paul is home to the largest urban Hmong population in the nation and nearly a quarter of enrolled SPPS students are Hmong. They’ll use these findings to develop a Hmong language version of the Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs)—brief, easy to use measures of early language and literacy designed for use with preschool children. The new measures will be used by educators to assess Hmong preschool children’s early language and literacy skills.
“IGDILab continues to pursue the development of meaningful measures for communities that are underserved, including bilingual students,” said Wackerle-Hollman. “This began with early language and literacy measures for Spanish-speaking students and continues through our partnership with St. Paul public schools to develop high quality measures for Hmong students.”
IGDILab is a research lab at the University of Minnesota led by Wackerle-Hollman and McConnell. The lab researches, designs, and tests IGDI measures to support data-based decision making by teachers, early childhood professionals, parents, and others to help improve early childhood outcomes. IGDILab has secured over $5 million in funding in the past decade to pursue complementary research including the assessment of English and Spanish language and early literacy development for children three, four, and five years of age as well as supporting resources to facilitate data-based decisions using scores derived from IGDIs.
Since 1990, Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory, has studied motion sickness and virtual reality (VR), sometimes called “simulator sickness.” One of his interests is examining the effects of VR and VR applications, which can cause people to become spatially disoriented and physically ill.
In a June 30 article titled “What’s the future of virtual reality? Minnesota researchers may hold the answer,” the StarTribune discusses Stoffregen’s research and the way VR technology deals with motion sickness – or not.
“Why would anyone pay $600 for something that makes you toss your cookies?” Stoffregen asks in the article. He argues that companies who sell VR games are not dealing with changing the designs of the games, but are simply changing their liability rules should consumers become ill.
The article discusses Stoffregen’s research extensively, as well as studies being conducted by the Mayo Clinic, which may provide answers to the problems with nausea and sickness related to VR and VR applications across a broad spectrum.
On June 30, Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL), gave an invited talk at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Woods Hole, MA, titled “Getting your sea legs: The horizon, seasickness, and adaptive human movement.” His presentation was cited in an article in the Cape Cod Times on July 2.
WHOI was the terminus of Stoffregen’s latest research cruise from Costa Rica to Woods Hole. He and student lab members spent 16 days at sea conducting a number of experiments.
Beth Lewis, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology director and professor, is a co-investigator on an NIH/National Institute of Nursing grant (R01 NR016705-01), “Community-based intervention effects of older adults’ physical activity and falls.” The purpose of this study is to identify behavioral change strategies that lead to increased physical activity and in turn lead to a reduction in falls and improved quality of life (QOL) among older adults. She will be working with PI Siobhan McMahon and other co-investigators to refine and consult on the intervention implementation and physical activity assessment. The grant will run through January, 2022.
Lewis served as a faculty mentor for Dr. McMahon’s KL2 Scholars Career Development Program for assistant professors conducting clinical or translational research.
Thomas J. Smith, Ph.D., adjunct lecturer for the School of Kinesiology, is first author on a paper presented at the recently concluded 12th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, “Work, Stress and Health 2017: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities,” that convened in Minneapolis June 7-10. The paper is titled, ‘The Productivity Paradox – A Distracted Working Hypothesis.’ The paper also will be published in the conference proceedings.
Dahiea Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology, appeared on the Public Health Minute with Dr. William Latimer, presented by the School of Health Sciences, Human Services, and Nursing at Lehman College, CUNY, Bronx, NY, on a segment titled “Physical Activity and Healthy Eating“.
The Public Health Minute is a one-minute audio segment in which the creator and host, Dr. William Latimer, interviews researchers and medical professionals about a wide variety of public health topics and is designed to get practical health advice informed by cutting- edge research to the public.
An online article in Phys.org reveals that microaggressions against female athletes in the media increased by nearly 40 percent from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Female athletes have a history of experiencing microaggressions, such as racism, sexism, the belittling of athletic accomplishments and being the brunt of sexual jokes. Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Journalism also report that Cynthia Frisby, an associate professor of strategic communication at Mizzou, found evidence of increased microaggressions against female athletes of color compared to white athletes.
Donald R. Dengel, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology was recently quoted in the June issue of Experience Life, an online health and fitness magazine, on how exercise improves circulation. “The circulatory system loves exercise,” Dengel says in the article, and explains that exercise makes the circulatory system stronger, more flexible, and more expansive, which in turn boosts athletic performance. The article can be accessed here.
Recently, Elsevier Connect highlighted research conducted by students in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. The article, “The effects of participation in school sports on academic and social functioning,” was one of three featured in the piece, “Thriving or surviving? Taking a wide angle on mental health.”1 According to the Elsevier Connect, this free article collection explored what’s behind good mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week.
The students examined 2010 Minnesota Student Survey data and found 12th graders who participated in sports had higher GPAs, more favorable perceptions of school safety, and increased perceptions of family and teacher/community support. Psychological foundations of education student (now alumni), Martin Van Boekel, led the project. Quantitative methods in education students, Luke Stanke, Jose R. Palma Zamora, Yoojeong Jang, Youngsoon Kang, and Kyle Nickodem collaborated with Van Boekel on the study. Okan Bulut, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and member of the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME) at the University of Alberta, helped guide the students’ work.
The Minnesota Youth Development Research Group
The researchers met and began work on the project through the Minnesota Youth Development Research Group (MYDRG) which is led by Michael Rodriguez, Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. MYDRG explores methodological and substantive challenges in youth development through positive psychology, ecological perspectives of youth development, and the translation of research to practice.
- Van Boekel, Martin, Bulut, Okan, Stanke, Luke, Palma Zamora, Jose R., Jang, Yoojeong, Kang, Youngsoon, Nickodem, Kyle. (2017). The effects of participation in school sports on academic and social functioning. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Volume 46, September–October 2016, 31–40. doi: /10.1016/j.appdev.2016.05.002
Maureen Weiss, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, published an article, “Positive youth development through sport” in the just-released anthology by Sage on after-school and out-of- school programs related to teaching methods and learning styles. The two-volume series covering over 200 articles documents what the best research has revealed about out-of- school learning—what facilitates or hampers it; where it takes place most effectively; how we can encourage it to develop talents and strengthen communities; and why it matters.
Beth Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology, and colleagues (including her advisees Lauren Billing, Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate, and Katie Schuver, Kinesiology Ph.D., 2014 ) have had an article published in Women’s Health.
Keelin Yenney, a Ph.D. student studying higher education in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), has been awarded a grant from the National Association for Orientation, Transfer, and Retention (NODA) for her research regarding the retention of rural students.
“Social Capital and Sense of Belonging: Exploring Assigned Academic Advising as a Retention Tool for Rural Students”
The purpose of this study is to explore how rural students experience assigned academic advising as a tool to develop social capital and sense of belonging in an urban college environment and the ways these experiences influence retention.