|From Truthdig, 9 June 2017:
Although headlines about Russia and James Comey have dominated mainstream media for most of Trump’s presidency thus far, damage to democracy has been going on behind the scenes. Advocates of net neutrality are watching in horror as Ajit Pai, head of the Federal Communications Commission, works to destroy net neutrality and other consumer protection regulations.
“Most Americans are not able to get the information that they need to keep themselves safe.” So says Mark Lloyd [MLK Visiting Scholar 2002-04], the associate general counsel and chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission in 2009-2012. Lloyd, also an author, a professor of communications at USC’s Annenberg School and an Emmy Award-winning journalist, sat down with Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer on his KCRW podcast “Scheer Intelligence” for a conversation on media consolidation and consumer protection.
This communications crisis started “before Trump,” Lloyd says. He explains how a lack of effective telecommunications affects health, finances and other crucial factors of Americans’ lives.
“In the U.S., our priorities are to make sure that people are making money in communications,” Lloyd continues, “and not making sure that people are safe with the communications services that they use.”
“So we’re not even talking about whether they’re being informed about trade with China or the war in Syria,” Scheer notes. “We’re talking about, actually, what they need for their well-being.”
The two go on to discuss the FCC, where Lloyd once worked as a lawyer. Lloyd explained that, while at the FCC, he tried to make communications services more accessible to all—but then the 2016 election happened.
He goes on to break down the current battle over net neutrality:
Lloyd also explains the constitutional origins of U.S. communications and delves into media consolidation in the U.S.
“There’s nothing radically new here,” Lloyd says of the Trump administration’s stance on net neutrality and consumer protections. “The big challenge is that we have an FCC that is not really even looking at the impact of media consolidation, on what it means to local communities.”
Read the full transcript for the interview here.
Former MLK Visiting Professors Christopher Rose and Sylvester James Gates, Jr. are part of Brown University’s diversity and inclusion action plan, which is committed to doubling the number of faculty from historically underrepresented groups, two initiatives are already attracting both early-career and experienced scholars to Brown.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Just over a year ago, Brown University launched into the work of activating an ambitious, far-reaching plan to create a more diverse and inclusive academic community. Among the plan’s chief priorities was a multifaceted effort to double the number of faculty members from historically underrepresented groups by 2022.
Two initiatives related to that effort — the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the Provost’s Visiting Professors Program — are in full swing, each representing a distinct element in a broader strategy to boost faculty diversity. The first aims to widen the pipeline of young scholars from diverse backgrounds who will compete for tenure-track positions at Brown and elsewhere in the future. The other focuses more immediately on the present by attracting distinguished senior scholars from historically underrepresented groups to Brown for temporary appointments.
And both are already producing results.
“Diversity is a cornerstone of academic excellence,” Brown President Christina Paxson said. “Through a set of distinctive and purposeful programs, we are seeing success at increasing faculty diversity at all levels — from the most recent recipients of Ph.D.s to academics who are at the peak of their careers as educators and scholars.”
Liza Cariaga-Lo, the University’s vice president for academic development, diversity and inclusion, said that cultivating a more diverse faculty is essential to the creation of an academic community that embodies the social and intellectual diversity of the world and offers students and scholars the highest level of academic excellence.
“These programs are already helping us to meet the goals set out in our diversity and action plan by addressing faculty hiring at multiple points in the academic career pipeline,” she said.
Developing young scholars
In 2015 — a semester before the debut of the full Pathways to Diversity and Inclusionaction plan — Brown launched the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program to support the development of early career scholars who add intellectual diversity to the campus.
From the start of the first cohort of six fellows, Cariaga-Lo said, the program’s specific emphasis has been recruiting scholars from historically underrepresented groups who might eventually compete for tenure-track faculty positions at the University. During their time at Brown, each fellow spends two semesters teaching a course of their own design and another two semesters wholly devoted to their research. With each new cohort, the University will bring in up to six new scholars, she noted.
Attracting accomplished researchers
While the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers opportunities for emerging scholars, the Provost’s Visiting Professors Program is designed to bring to Brown those who are already highly accomplished. All come from historically underrepresented groups for periods ranging from six to 24 months.
For the current 2016-17 academic year, Brown welcomed the first cohort of visitors: renowned physicists Sylvester James Gates Jr. and John A. Johnson, and accomplished epidemiologist Ronald Aubert.
The aim is to broaden the excellence of Brown faculty while helping to build a critical mass of diverse voices in the University’s academic community, said Provost Richard M. Locke.
“We were very pleased to draw such exceptional scholars to Brown as part of this program,” Locke said. “I know our students and faculty benefited greatly from their interactions with the first cohort of visitors, and we hope to see that continue as the program moves forward.”
Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland, is a recipient of the National Medal of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He also served a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology during the Obama administration.
He says several factors made him want to be a part of the visiting professors program at Brown.
“Brown has long had a reputation for its flexibility in educating undergraduates and for having fantastic students, and I wanted to be involved with that,” he said. “But the other thing is that Brown is making some historic efforts at being more inclusive, and that also is something that fascinated me.”
Gates says when he thinks about the value of programs like this, he’s reminded of something a female colleague once said to him.
“She said it really matters when a young woman sees someone who looks like her at the blackboard,” Gates recalled. “It provides real encouragement for people from groups who have been traditionally locked out of some of these positions.”
Chris Rose, a professor of engineering and associate dean of the faculty for special initiatives, helps oversee the program. He said it has been gratifying to see the first cohort engaging with students and fellow faculty members throughout campus.
“We’re not the first university to have this type of program, but we wanted to structure ours differently,” Rose said. “From the beginning, we aimed for a program that was outward-facing, where visitors weren’t cloistered within a single academic department, but instead were making connections across campus. To do that, we need to bring people to campus who not only have great depth in their interests, but great breadth as well.”
Aubert, chief science officer for a health care consulting firm and an adjunct associate professor at the University of North Carolina, has a dual visiting appointment in the Brown University School of Public Health and with the University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA). So in addition to teaching and mentoring students in public health, he also gave informal talks with students and faculty at CSREA on issues of race and ethnicity as they relate to the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. He’ll continue his work over he summer, developing campus-wide programming on issues of public health and race.
Gates co-taught a physics class, gave a colloquium on science-based public policy at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and served as co-director of Brown’s Presidential Scholars Program, which provides research opportunities and support for low-and-middle-income undergraduates.
Amid all that, Gates still had time to continue his research, which he said benefitted from the collaborative ethos he found at Brown.
“What I’m working on is a strange combination of physics, mathematics, computer science and even a bit of evolutionary biology,” Gates said. “There’s a real spirit of interdisciplinarity here that enabled my work.”
Rose says he looks forward to the program’s continued success, along with the suite of related programs aimed at creating a more diverse academic community at Brown.
“There’s a constant drumbeat of these kinds of programs at Brown growing out of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, along with the institutional will to see them through,” Rose said. “In terms of making meaningful progress in diversity and inclusion, I think Brown is the place to watch.”
[Editor’s Note: In late May 2017, shortly after publication of this story, Sylvester James Gates Jr. agreed to become a permanent member of Brown’s faculty.]
| Baratunde Cola wins the 2017 Waterman Award, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF):
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Come for dinner and to enjoy the visual art and performances of MIT and Wellesley students.
All visual, literary art and performance art is inspired by the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.
DEADLINE TO ENTER: Monday, April 24, 2017 [entry form]
Win cash prizes up to $250.00 each!
The Fifth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. – Inspired Art and Performance Contest
Are you inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr or other civil rights leaders such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Fannie Lou Hamer and Harvey Milk?
Express yourself by entering
The contest is open to all MIT Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Wellesley students cross registered at MIT this semester.
Your entry should be related to or inspired by any of the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.
Here is your chance to show off your creativity and artistic skills to the MIT community, have fun and win money!
Please send long literary entries (short stories, plays, speeches) to Tobie Weiner (email@example.com) prior to the contest.
The Spirit of Detroit: 1950 to 2050 is a one-day symposium which focuses on the City of Detroit’s past, present, and future. The symposium is an outgrowth of the work of Kenneth E. Reeves, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Detroit 1967 riot, and the symposium focuses on Detroit’s heyday in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the city’s journey from 1967 into a potentially promising yet uncertain future. The symposium will feature knowledgeable speakers from Detroit on a morning panel and an afternoon panel to explore a wide range of topics on the city from 1950 to 2050. Camilo José Vergara, author of Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age, will give a keynote address during lunch. The overarching goal of this event will be to look back in order to look forward.
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
| From MIT News, 30 March 2017:
3Q: J. Phillip Thompson on revitalizing Central Brooklyn
| From MIT Technology Review March/April 2017 issue:
Research physicist Sekazi Mtingwa, the first African-American to win the American Physical Society’s Robert R. Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators, has a history of helping others overcome obstacles in science.
Mtingwa, who was born in Georgia as Michael Von Sawyer, says his elementary school classmates joked that “I would be like the German scientists in the white lab coats that we saw in our schoolbooks who were named ‘Von this’ or ‘Von that,’” he says.
Growing up as the son of a Lockheed assembly line worker and a licensed practical nurse, Mtingwa attended segregated schools until the 10th grade. That same year, the Georgia State Science Fair was integrated—and his project won first place in biology. Among his prizes were books on science, mathematics, and engineering. “Three of them were introductions to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which were so captivating that I decided that physics was the thing for me,” he recalls.
Mtingwa earned bachelor’s degrees in both physics and math from MIT and master’s and PhD degrees in theoretical high-energy physics from Princeton. As a grad student, he changed his name to a phrase in Bondei, a Tanzanian language: Sekazi (male hard worker) Kauze (inquisitive) Mtingwa (literally “breastbone,” but the word refers to someone who can overcome many problems).
He held a research post at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he and a colleague developed a theory of particle beam dynamics, “intrabeam scattering,” that standardized the performance limitations on a wide class of modern accelerators. He also worked at the Argonne National Laboratory and held faculty positions at North Carolina A&T State University and Morgan State University before serving at MIT as the Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor of Physics from 2001 to 2003. In 2006, he returned to MIT as lead physics lecturer in the Concourse Program and faculty director of academic programs in the Office of Minority Education.
“The most important thing I learned at MIT was the value of mentoring, both as mentee and mentor,” says Mtingwa, who helped found Project Interphase (now Interphase EDGE), a summer program that prepares incoming MIT students.
He also helped establish the National Society of Black Physicists, the African Physical Society, and the African Laser Centre, which is based in South Africa. In 2011, he and his wife, W. Estella Johnson, who have two daughters, cofounded Triangle Science, Education & Economic Development, a consulting company in North Carolina that supports underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.
By Alice Waugh
Jacquelyn Taylor and her colleagues have published “Genome Sequencing Technologies and Nursing: What are the Roles of Nurses and Nurse Scientists?“ in Nursing Research, the top research journal for nurse scientists.
From feature in the Yale School of Nursing webpage (6 March 2017):
Yale School of Nursing’s Jacquelyn Taylor PhD, PNP-BC, RN, FAHA, FAAN serves as the guest editor for the March issue of Nursing Research’s special issue on Omics. It is in that capacity that Taylor, herself an award-winning genomics researcher, offered the above thesis in a commentary about the future of genomics and precision health and, specifically, the important role that nurse scientist and nurse clinicians have in the rapidly evolving healthcare environment.
According to Taylor, who penned the commentary along with colleagues from Emory University, Columbia University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, genomic sequencing is quickly becoming a routine standard of care.
Detroit – July 23rd, 1967
This year will be the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot. In 1967, Detroit had a large population of home-owning black middle-class and blue-collar residents, and the city was synonymous with the American Dream. This was due in large part to strong unions, high employment, and a thriving auto industry. How then did a police raid on a blind pig, an after-hours bar, cause four days of mayhem which irreparably harmed Detroit from 1967 to the present day? Despite the many rationals that were used to explain the riot, the causes are socially, economically, and racially complicated. I will take a vivid eyewitness approach to examining the riot, which erupted three blocks from my childhood home. Additionally, I will share my analysis of Detroit stemming from monthly visits to the city over the past two years. We will discuss the future of Detroit in the aftermath of this crisis, and we will extrapolate the lessons learned from Detroit to other American cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. In essence, we will be looking back to look in order to forward.
This talk will be accessible to a general audience.
If you are able to attend, please reply to Shauna Bush-Fenty (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any dietary restrictions, accessibility considerations or other needs.
|From “Ta-Nehisi Coates on Creating Black Superheroes,” The New York Times (2 March 2017):
When Marvel Comics announced in September 2015 that Ta-Nehisi Coates would be writing a new Black Panther series, the timing could not have been more fortuitous. That same month, Mr. Coates, who writes regularly for The Atlantic, was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and, two months later, a National Book Award for nonfiction for Between the World and Me, his passionate letter to his son about being black in America.
The momentum for the hero was also tremendous. Issue No. 1 of Black Panther hit stores last April and went on to sell more than 300,000 copies, according to Marvel. He then made his big screen debut in May, with “Captain America: Civil War,” and was played by Chadwick Boseman, who will reprise the role in a solo film next year. In July came Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, a collected edition of the first four issues of the comic. It was followed, in November, by World of Wakanda, a companion series in which Mr. Coates introduced two more newcomers to the roster of comic-book scribes: the feminist writer Roxane Gay and the poet Yona Harvey. This April comes a new series, Black Panther and the Crew, a team comprising only black heroes, written by Mr. Coates and Ms. Harvey.
Mr. Coates answered questions about the success of Black Panther, his approach to writing, the members of the Crew and what’s next.