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Hear about cutting edge research in ITR’s Colloquium Series

Series kicks off Feb. 7 with discussion of retaining and engaging enrolled families

As part of ITR’s mission to connect leaders in the field of children’s mental health, we are excited to announce our 2017 Colloquia Series, featuring three discussions on new research from ITR faculty. Space is limited, so reserve your spot early — e-mail to RSVP.

Feb. 7 – Project INTERFACE: Promoting Parent Engagement in Parent Education Programs | 3:30-5 p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Richard M. Lee and Dr. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman
Problems in engaging and retaining enrolled families is a significant barrier to reaping the effects of evidence-based parenting interventions. Studies show modest rates of enrollment and retention in evidence-based parent training particularly among racial/ethnic minority families.  We will describe our work to develop and test a brief group-based engagement and retention priming module for families from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The work was funded by a seed grant from ITR in 2015.

About Dr. Lee: Rich’s research interests are in understanding the psychological aspects of culture, ethnicity and race that function as risk and protective factors for well-being, mental health, and achievement in ethnic and racial minority populations. Dr. Lee has received NIH, NSF, and foundation funding to support his research.(Full bio)

About Dr. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman: Dr. Wackerle-Hollman is an educational psychologist with a passion for engaging communities and young children to improve child and family outcomes. Alisha’s interest focuses on two primary strands of research: a clinical foci on parenting education and development and an applied foci centralized around early childhood assessment and intervention.(Full bio)

March 27 – Personalizing Treatment for Adolescent Depression: Challenges and Opportunities | 3:30-5 p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel

There are now a number of evidence-based interventions for adolescent depression; however, many adolescents who receive one of these interventions do not respond. There is increasing recognition that treating depression more effectively requires taking into account individual differences and providing adolescents with treatment that is optimally matched and adapted over time to their individual characteristics, needs, and circumstances. In this presentation, I will discuss our work developing and evaluating personalized interventions for adolescent depression.

About Dr. Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel: Meredith’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions for adolescent depression. She has a particular interest in the development of adaptive interventions, which provide clinical guidelines for selecting, combining, and sequencing interventions to personalize the intervention approach. (Full bio)

May 2 – An alternative model of personalized interventions: Findings from an adoption study | 3:30-5p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Leslie Leve

It is widely known that parents play a crucial role in their child’s development, ranging from the disciplinary practices they engage in, to the quality of their own interparental relationship, to the educational context they provide. However, there is increasing evidence that genetic influences play a role in these associations, sometimes via their moderating role in increasing or decreasing children’s susceptibility to these environmental experiences, and other times because they shape the types of environments that children are exposed to.

This presentation focuses on the interplay between inherited and environmental influences on child development by describing findings from an adoption study where children were reared from birth by unrelated caregivers. The relevance of children’s inherited predispositions in the design and delivery of preventive interventions will also be discussed.

Dr. Leslie Leve is a developmental psychologist who has used natural experimental designs to examine the interplay between social and inherited influences on child and adolescent development. This includes adoption studies where children have been reared by unrelated caregivers, intervention studies with children in foster care, and studies of siblings who have been reared apart since birth. Leslie is the Associate Director of the Prevention Science Institute and the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. She currently serves as President-Elect of the Society for Prevention Research. Her research is currently funded by NIH and IES. 

American Culture Center for Sport receives U.S. State Department grant

For the 5th consecutive year, the U.S. State Department will support the American Culture Center (ACC) for Sport in China administrated by the University of Minnesota. From September 2016 until August 2017, the funding will be $75,000 to Li Li Ji, Ph.D., professor and director of the School of Kinesiology, the PI of the grant.

The ACC focuses on the introduction and promotion of sport as an American heritage and value. The main activities include on-campus, year-round programs and featured lecture tours that visit various Chinese universities.

In January 2017, Ji, Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, and Gregory Welk, Ph.D., associate professor of health promotion and exercise at Iowa State University, will visit four universities. The goal is to introduce how mobile devices are being used to promote physical activity on U.S. campuses.


Nye-Lengerman receives AUCD Young Professional Award

On December 6, Kelly Nye-Lengerman from the College’s Institute on Community Integration received the AUCD Young Professional Award during the AUCD annual conference in Washington, DC. This award is presented to professionals in the disabilities field under the age of 40 who have demonstrated dedication and commitment to people with developmental disabilities and their families through their work as a bridge between the academic sector and the community.

Gulaid joins National Advisory Committee

In October,  Anab Gulaid from the college’s Institute on Community Integration was invited to join the National Advisory Committee for the Diversity & Inclusion Training Action Plan (D&I-TAP), a one-year project funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the project is to research, develop, and disseminate a D&I-TAP for the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), of which ICI is a member. Gulaid’s committee duties began in November.


Muñoz featured in MPR news story on challenges Hispanic students face in graduating from college

Munoz photoMinerva Muñoz, director of TRIO Student Support Services, was recently featured in an MPR news piece on the barriers Hispanic students face in obtaining college degrees.

Read the full article. 

Johnson authors Psychology Today post, ‘Why false news endangers democracy’

Dr. David Johnson
David W. Johnson

David W. Johnson, emeritus professor of in the Department of Educational Psychology, recently wrote a blog post for Psychology Today on “Why false news endangers democracy.” In the post, Johnson outlines eight steps needed for political discourse based on cooperative learning theory.

He argues, “Once falsehoods become commonplace, and false news replaces or becomes equal to factual news, political discourse becomes impossible.  Without political discourse, democracy cannot exist.”

Read the full article.  

Shirazi writes Huffington Post op-ed article on proposed Muslim registry

ShiraziR-2012Roozbeh Shirazi, assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), wrote an op-ed article for The Huffington Post: Muslim Registry Would Be Hideous-And Thoroughly American. It examines the history of racialized surveillance in the U.S. and the possibilities of resisting and confronting this latest version.

“But taking a look at Trump’s proposals against a long history of racial and religious surveillance provides a larger, and even more disturbing landscape. Because, for one, it is shocking to find that this kind of program is nothing new. And, second, programs like the ones he’s suggesting have provided no discernible benefit for the shame of betraying the rights of our neighbors.”

ICD alumna examines how parental incarceration impacts children

headshot of Rebecca Shlafer
Rebecca Shlafer

Rebecca Shlafer, Ph.D., MPH, a professor and child psychologist at the University of Minnesota Medical School and an alumna of the Institute of Child Development, is leading a unique team of researchers that aims to determine how parental incarceration impacts children.

“In Minnesota alone, 76 percent of all incarcerated women are mothers with minor children,” Shlafer says. “And 66 percent of all incarcerated men are fathers with minor children.”

Data show that parental incarceration can increase a child’s risk for mental health problems, substance abuse, and delinquency. To examine the issue, Shlafer’s lab, which partners College of Liberal Arts undergraduates with medical school faculty, allows students to pursue many different research projects. For example, student projects have analyzed drawings by the children of incarcerated parents and the impact of developmentally-appropriate materials on conversations about incarceration between children and their caregivers.

“The fact that this is an understudied problem means that we can really have an impact,” Shlafer says. “I tell my students, ‘Pick any part of this problem and we can make a difference.'”

Learn more about Shlafer’s lab and research

Gao to publish two first-authored papers in Journal of Sport and Health Science

gao-zan-2012Zan Gao, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Director of the Physical Activity Epidemiology Lab, will publish two first-authored papers in the Journal of Sport and Health Science (impact factor: 1.72).

In the first editorial paper, Dr. Gao comments on the role of active video games in promoting physical activity and health. According to this editorial, although sedentary video games present negative effects to a healthy and active lifestyle, active video games have a great possibility of facilitating physical activity promotion. Health professionals are striving to “fight fire with fire” — attempting to apply active video games to promoting physical activity and health. Notably, as a result of the work of professionals in the past decade, active video games have made marked contributions to the understanding and promotion of physical activity behaviors among various populations.

The second paper examines the effect of exergaming on children’s sedentary behavior, light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and energy expenditure over two years as compared with regular physical education classes. It was found that exergaming can have the same positive effect on children’s light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and energy expenditure as does regular physical education.

Gao, Z. (in press). Fight fire with fire: Promoting physical activity and health through active video games. Journal of Sport and Health Science.

Gao, Z., Pope, Z., Lee, J., Stodden, D., Roncesvalles, N., Pasco, D., Huang, C., & Feng, D. (in press). Impact of exergaming on young children’s school day energy expenditure and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels. Journal of Sport and Health Science.


Masten offers MOOC on resilience in children exposed to trauma

Dr. Ann Masten
Dr. Ann Masten

Ann Masten, Ph.D., Regents Professor and Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development in the Institute of Child Development, leads a massive open online course (MOOC) through Coursera titled, “Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War: Global Perspectives.” Sessions begin every eight weeks, with participants joining from around the world.

Participants can join this MOOC for free or register for a fee ($49) to earn a Course Certificate.

Beginning this year, participants of the course may qualify for continuing education clock hours through the University of Minnesota. To earn clock hours, a participant must complete the course, earn a Course Certificate from Coursera, and apply for continuing education clock hours through the university. 

Below, Masten discusses the developmental effects of trauma and why now is a critical time to learn about the resilience of individuals and systems around the world.

How does trauma influence development?
Trauma can have profound effects on people at any age. Trauma strains the systems that keep us in balance and it can alter aspects of human interaction at all levels, from the biological level to the societal level.

Why is it important to focus on trauma now?
We live in a world that is threatened by trauma of many different kinds on a scale not seen since World War II. Globally, we face terrorism, war, pandemics, and more frequent natural disasters. There is international interest in resilience because we will continue to experience such catastrophes for the foreseeable future.

What is resilience and how does it help children succeed?
Resilience is the capacity to overcome serious threats to development and go on to lead a successful life. Resilience can also apply to any system, such as a family, the planet or the economy. Resilience of individuals depends on resilience of other systems they interact with. In the case of children, the younger the child is, the more dependent they are on the adults who are caring for them.

How would you describe your course to a potential participant?
This course highlights what we’ve learned about resilience in the past 50 years. I provide an overview of resilience theories, what we have learned from global studies, exciting new research directions, and how this knowledge is being applied in the real world to promote resilience.

What are the benefits of taking your course?
This MOOC provides a convenient and interesting way to learn about the science of resilience and how it can be applied to help children. It also is an opportunity to discuss resilience issues with a diverse set of professionals working around the world.

Varma promotes positive math mindsets, parent involvement for minority and immigrant families

Keisha Varma, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, is working with Anne Sullivan Middle School, as part of the project GopherMath to design programs to increase parent involvement for minority and immigrant families. Her work is a collaboration with faculty from the Department of Educational Psychology, Institute of Child Development, and Department of Curriculum and Instruction and is funded by the University of Minnesota’s Office of the President and Generation Next.

Currently, Varma is designing programming promoting positive mathematical mindsets, including dealing with math anxiety and supporting math learning in 3rd – 6th grade students. Parents attend monthly meetings that include presentations and small group discussions. Next semester, her work is expanding to include text messaging to support interactions between parents and teachers and encourage curriculum-informed math activities at home.

Tucker Center’s Women Coaches Symposium registration is open

Jill Ellis, Keynote
Jill Ellis, Symposium Keynote

The Tucker Center is now accepting registrations for its 4th Annual Women Coaches Symposium to be held on Friday, April 21, 2017. This year’s Jean K. Freeman Keynote Speaker is Jill Ellis, United States Women’s National Soccer Team head coach. For more information and to register, visit the Symposium website.

McConnell, LENA Start recognized by Mayor Hodges

Scott McConnell headshot
Scott McConnell

The University of Minnesota and College of Education and Human Development, with leadership from Scott McConnell, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, were recognized recently by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Kara Dukakis from Too Small to Fail for contributions to the launch and evaluation of LENA Start, a promising intervention to promote parent-child interaction and early language development—and, as a result, reduce disparities—for families of young children. Part of this work will help support Mayor Hodges’s Talking is Teaching campaign.

Stoffregen and students publish in Experimental Brain Research

The research study “The virtual reality head-mounted display Oculus Rift induces motion sickness and is sexist in its effects,” by Justin Munafo, Meg Diedrick, and Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., has been published in the journal Experimental Brain Research.

Thomas Stoffregen is the director of the School of Kinesiology’s  Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory (APAL) where Justin Munafo, a Kinesiology PhD student and DOVE scholar, and Meg Diedrick, an undergraduate research assistant supported by a Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) award, are advised by Dr. Stoffregen.


Richardson, Orr receive Mini Grant from the Institute on the Environment

Ms. Orr
portrait image of Tiffany Richardson taken in 2015
Dr. Richardson

Tiffany Richardson, Ph.D., Sport Management lecturer in the School of Kinesiology, and Madeleine Orr, Ph.D. student in Kinesiology (sport management emphasis) have been awarded a $3,000 Institute on the Environment (IonE) Mini Grant. The grant will be used for their research project, “Carless Tailgating: A Safe and Sustainable Alternative to a Sporting Tradition.” Carless tailgating is a highlight of the football season at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and has been shown to result in a more environmentally responsible and safer celebratory environment. Richardson and Orr are collaborating on the grant with Shane Stennes, Director of Sustainability at the U of M, and Dave Newport, Director of the Environmental Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

J.B. Mayo wins Josie Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award

mayojr-2011J.B. Mayo, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, received the Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award at the University of Minnesota Equity and Diversity Breakfast on Nov. 17.

The Josie R. Johnson Award was established in honor of Dr. Josie R. Johnson in recognition of her lifelong contributions to human rights and social justice, which guided her work with the civil rights movement, years of community service, and tenure at the University. The award honors University faculty, staff, and students who, through their principles and practices, exemplify Dr. Johnson’s standard of excellence in creating respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environments.

Mayo was recognized for his dedication to equity and social justice in schools. Colleagues noted, in particular, his scholarship and outreach related to LGBTQ youth and teachers and his support for LGBTQ communities of color in school and community settings. Read more about Dr. Mayo.

Learn more about past award recipients.

China Champions meet former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale

vice-president-mondale-visit-1The 2016-17 China Champions were introduced to former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale last evening at an event hosted by Peggy Lucas, member of the U of M Board of Regents and a supporter of the China Champions program. Mr. Mondale met each athlete individually and discussed his work in opening diplomatic doors to China and his many visits to the country.

Also attending the event were School of Kinesiology director Li Li Ji, Ph.D., and associate director Rayla Allison, J.D.

Mr. Mondale also served as a U.S. senator representing Minnesota and was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan by President Bill Clinton from 1993-1996.

Led by the U of M’s School of Kinesiology in collaboration with Beijing Sport University and supported by the Chinese government’s Scholarship Council, the China Champions program is a unique, global collaboration that provides mutual benefits for Chinese athletes and University faculty, staff and students.


Michael Rodriguez: What you need to know about the GRE

Michael Rodriguez head shot
Michael Rodriguez

Many prospective students feel a twinge of anxiety when they think of taking the Graduate Record Examination, otherwise known as the GRE. That’s why the College or Education and Human Development asked QME professor Michael Rodriguez to provide some insight for people preparing to take the GRE and to answer the frequently asked questions about the test. Read more.

University autism expertise leads to earlier diagnosis

Jed Elison and Jason Wolff

CEHD researchers Jason Wolff and Jed Elison are detecting objective differences in the brains of children who have autism spectrum disorders as early as six months old. And their work is contributing to a national effort to understand this complex array of developmental disorders.

“We know from intervention studies that the earlier you intervene, the better the outcome,” says Wolff in a U of M Medical Bulletin feature story.

Read more about the work of several U of M researchers who bring a spectrum of expertise to their autism research, including prevalence studies led by Amy Hewitt, director of CEHD’s Research and Training Center on Community Living in the Institute on Community Integration.

InsideHigherEd quotes Tucker Center’s LaVoi on Harvard sexism scandal

Nicole M. LaVoi, Tucker Center Associate Director, 2013 imageAn online magazine article, “Supposed to Be Our Brothers,”has quoted Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., faculty in the School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, on the recent Harvard sexism scandal wherein men’s teams where shown to have years of sexist traditions toward their female athlete counterparts. LaVoi comments that while on the surface teams say they treat each other “like family,” this is not true administratively or—now so clearly—when female athletes are ritually objectified by their male teammates.