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Feinstein College of Arts & Sciences

Marine Biology Faculty from RWU among 2015 STAC Grant Awardees

February 27, 2015

Bristol, R.I. -- On Feb. 19, the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) announced the 2015 Rhode Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Grants, in which $814,042 was awarded to six multi-disciplinary teams to fund new marine biology research projects. Roger Williams University faculty members Roxanna Smolowitz, Dale Leavitt and David Taylor were among the awardees and will collaborate on two of the six funded projects.

Roxanna Smolowitz, a visiting assistant professor of biology who specializes in aquatic veterinary science, will work with a team of scientists to understand the relationship between physical and chemical changes in the ocean and various health issues affecting coastal fish and shellfish of commercial interest.

Smolowitz’s team will include Kathleen Castro and Marta Gomez-Chiarri from the University of Rhode Island and Lewis Rothstein from URI's Graduate School of Oceanography. The grant totaled $139,952.

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President’s Distinguished Speakers Series: Jane Elliott

In 1968, as a third-grade schoolteacher in small-town Iowa, Jane Elliott devised the controversial “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Forty-seven years later, it remains one of the most powerful illustrations of the injurious effects of prejudice and discrimination.

With clips from “Eye of the Storm” – an ABC News documentary on her exercise – the esteemed teacher, presenter and diversity trainer will explore power, perception and prejudice in modern-day America, sharing ideas on topics from microagressions to privilege to stereotypes and more in a presentation titled "Blue-Eyed, Brown-Eyed."

The event is also part of a yearlong series at RWU titled 150 Years Later: The 13th Amendment & Race in America, which calls upon us to both celebrate the monumental legislation to abolish slavery, but also to reflect critically on the current state of race relations in the U.S.

President’s Distinguished Speakers Series: Panel Discussion Featuring Leonard Pitts Jr.

In his second visit to RWU, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Leonard Pitts Jr. will join a panel of experts and commentators from the University and beyond in discussing the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in America, and its impact over the 150 years since its passage in a presentation titled: "The Modern Legacy of the 13th Amendment and Race Relations in the U.S." 

Other confirmed panelists include:

  • David Canton – Associate Professor of History, Connecticut College
     
  • Kamille Gentles-Peart – Associate Professor of Communication, Roger Williams University
     
  • Hume Johnson – Assistant Professor of Communication, Roger Williams University

The event is also part of a yearlong series at RWU titled 150 Years Later: The 13th Amendment & Race in America, which calls upon us to both celebrate the monumental legislation to abolish slavery, but also to reflect critically on the current state of race relations in the U.S.

In an Inequitable Election Process, How to Regain the 'Equal Vote'

February 27, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – When it comes to achieving top political office in America, enough money can supplant the intention of “a government for the people, by the people.”

That's according to acclaimed author, attorney and activist Lawrence Lessig, who addressed a standing-room-only audience on Monday, Feb. 23, as part of the President’s Distinguished Speakers Series. With less than one percent of the population providing nearly three-quarters of all federal campaign funding via Super PACs, he said, equality in political representation is far from reality in America.

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Her Journey from Student to Writer: A Few Words with Alumna Maria Flook

February 24, 2015

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in “Connections @ The RWU Learning Commons,” the University Library’s e-newsletter. Author Abby DeVeuve, a “Connections” intern, interviewed alumna Maria Flook – a graduate of the creative writing program and author of several novels, nonfiction books, and collections of poetry and short stories – prior to Flook’s visit to RWU on Tuesday, February 24, as guest lecturer in the Talking in the Library Series.

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Free Will, Anger and Murder: Examining "Native Son" 75 Years Later

February 23, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – A gripping novel about murder and the limits upon African Americans in determining their own fate in racially segregated America, Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940) explored a previously untold side of segregation and disenfranchisement.

This month, the 15th Annual Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Lecture Series at Roger Williams University celebrates the 75th anniversary of the book, which raised questions that continue to resonate even today, three quarters of a century after its publication. Selected for its enduring literary and cultural significance, the novel is timeless, yet also a timely commentary on racial profiling within the criminal justice system, says James Tackach, professor of English and Birss Series organizer.

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Common Reading: "From 'The Circle' to 'The Glass Cage': The Intersection of Technology & Humanity"

Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains was a 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist and a New York Times bestseller. His latest work, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, challenges our conceptions of technology and demands that we rethink how computerization and digitization work to benefit us all.

Both The Shallows and The Glass Cage address themes identified in this year's Common Reading selection — The Circle by Dave Eggers.

Called an "exceedingly lucid" speaker and one of the "100 Most Influential People in IT," he speaks across the world on information technology, the culture of innovation and business strategy.

A book signing will follow the event.

Attendance is required for first-year students. The event is open to the entire RWU community, with limited seats available tot he greater community. Depending on attendance, some attendees may be seated in an overflow location.

How to Talk About Race Without Starting a Riot: David Wilson Returns to RWU

February 9, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – Drawing on history, current events and his own experience as a young black man growing up in Newark, N.J., journalist and filmmaker David A. Wilson has emerged as a leading voice in encouraging an open dialogue and national conversation on race relations in America.

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, Wilson will make his second visit to Roger Williams University as part of the President’s Distinguished Speakers Series for an event titled “How to Talk About Race Without Starting a Riot.” Wilson’s groundbreaking documentary, “Meeting David Wilson,” will be screened in its entirety, and a question and answer session will follow.

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President's Distinguished Speakers Series: David A. Wilson

Drawing on history, current events and his own personal experience, journalist and documentary filmmaker David A. Wilson has emerged as a leading voice in encouraging an open dialogue and national conversation on race relations in America.

In Wilson’s second visit to Roger Williams University, his groundbreaking film – “Meeting David Wilson” – will be screened in its entirety, and a Q&A session with the acclaimed filmmaker will follow.

The event is part of a yearlong series at RWU titled 150 Years Later: The 13th Amendment & Race in America, which calls upon us to both celebrate the monumental legislation to abolish slavery, but also to reflect critically on the current state of race relations in the U.S.

This event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. For more information, call 401-254-3166.

Students’ Free Speech Campaign Reaches Around the World

February 5, 2015

BRISTOL. R.I. – The energetic bustle of a group of students snapping photos drew Josh Avila’s gaze as he climbed the steps to the Dining Commons one day last December. Holding up a sign upon which was written “#Free2Think about our constitutional rights,” the student struck a contemplative pose for the picture, then wiped the slate clean and handed it to the next student.

This was different from how students typically use the landing in the Commons – stumping for club membership or bringing attention to a cause – and Avila was intrigued. Recognizing the sign-maker as his friend Ashley Barton, Avila asked what they were doing.

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