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TLC Commissioner Visits Public Policy Class

Allan Luks

Photo by Janet Sassi

At the same time that the recession-weakened nation experiences headlined slashes in public services, Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) students are being trained to identify and implement low-cost or no-cost ways to help the needy, and to become a force that shows that society can improve despite the Great Recession.

New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky addressed this topic when he spoke to students in Professor Allan Luks’ Advocacy and Public Policy class on Feb. 1.

“It’s always hard to get social changes approved,” Yassky said, “but I don’t think it’s any harder now to get change, as long as it doesn’t cost a lot of money. And you, as social workers, through your daily experiences, can identify such solutions and fight to get them adopted.”

Each one of the second-year students in Luks’ course must identify and advocate for a new, small public policy that can improve society at little cost. The students have had no problem finding these issues and their public policy solutions. Some examples include:

• stopping users of suboxone, a methadone-like drug, from selling their supply to get others high;

• requiring people who are HIV-positive to inform those they are sexually active with;

• having public TV and radio regularly post social indexes on how well or poorly society is solving its social ills and inviting public involvement where changes are most needed;

• offering affordable transportation for low-income cancer patients, who now may be late to appointments or even miss them;

• regular mental health seminars in high schools so students can identify warning signs in themselves and others and prevent violent behaviors;

• a requirement that public housing conditions that cause asthma be fixed within a month rather than a year; and

• allowing pregnant women to avoid going through metal detectors at schools.

“Social workers are required by their profession to identify solutions to public problems and advocate for their implementation,” said Luks, who also directs Fordham’s Center for Nonprofit Leaders. “For the needy, who are most affected by the Great Recession, these small ideas of social workers become a balance that says optimism for the future is still possible.”


 


 

Sociology Professor Tapped for Census Project

Emily Rosenbaum, Ph.D., professor of sociology, is one of 26 researchers who have been chosen from universities all over the United States to participate in a new report on changes in American society, as reflected in the 2010 Census.

“US2010: Discover America in a New Century” is being funded by the Russell Sage Foundation and coordinated through Brown University. The project, a two-year study which will culminate with a book, got underway when the 2010 Census showed virtually no change since 2000 in black and white segregation in the housing markets.

Rosenbaum, a housing inequality expert and author of The Housing Divide: How Generations of Immigrants Fare in New York’s Housing Markets (New York University Press, 2006), will be heading up the research on “How We Are Housed.” Drawing from a few different sources of data, Rosenbaum will analyze recent trends and differentials in home ownership, and housing and neighborhood quality, for the 2000-2010 decade.

“Homeownership is widely recognized as a barometer of the U.S. population’s and economy’s well-being,” wrote Rosenbaum, “and thus has long been integral to policymaking.”

But homeownership, she said, was only “part of the total picture.” Neighborhood safety, access to services such as good schools, and a deteriorating housing unit can adversely affect quality of life and health, she said.

“The persistence of racial/ethnic differentials in housing and neighborhood quality may be a partial explanation for [the] continued patterns of inequality,” Rosenbaum said.

What was surprising about the 2010 Census is that the recent decade of unchanged black-white segregation followed two decades (1980s, 1990s) of growing diversity. Why has it stopped? This is one of the things the study will look at.

—Janet Sassi

 


 

Political Science Professor Wins Book Award

Robert J. Hume, Ph.D.

Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert J. Hume, Ph.D., has won the 2010 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award for his book, How Courts Impact Federal Administrative Behavior (Routledge-Taylor & Francis, 2009).

Hume was one of only four winners in the professional studies category, out of 42 entries from 16 Jesuit institutions. The awards are given annually by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society.

“For legal scholars and politicians who are interested in the ‘art of the possible,’ and ordinary citizens who care about persuasive writing, this book might very well be considered required reading,” said one of the judges.

“I am thrilled to win a national book award,” Hume said, “but I take special pride in being recognized by a Jesuit honor society at the national level.”

Hume is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. He received his master of arts degree and doctorate from the University of Virginia in 2003, and came to Fordham in 2005. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of constitutional law, the judicial process, and public administration, with particular emphasis on the implementation of court decisions.

—Syd Steinhardt

 


 

Fordham Research Asks: Are the Kids Alright?

On Feb. 9, three of Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences faculty—one psychologist, one theologian and one sociologist—presented their original research around the issue of children and their mental and physical well-being.

The event, “Are the Kids Alright?” was coordinated by the Office of Research to help showcase the growing research among Fordham faculty.

Laura Sosinsky, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology (center), presented an ongoing study on how a cohort of first-time Bronx mothers are choosing child care before and after the birth of their child. Sosinsky said her study was inspired by the fact that, while rates of new mothers returning to the workplace have risen, the child care choices for women have not kept pace.

Matthew Weinshenker, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology (left), presented his research on “Evening Dads, Couch Potatoes and Others,” a look at fatherhood in the United States and how different types of fathers engage with their children. He said he hopes the study promotes a better understanding of what behaviors promote father-child involvement.

Charles Camosy, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology with an emphasis in Christian ethics (right), presented research on neonatal ICUs and the financial and moral cost of saving young lives. Camosy recently published a book, Too Expensive to Treat? Finitude, Tragedy and the Neonatal ICU (Eerdmans, 2010), which explores the moral issues of health care rationing in the United States.

All three presenters were recipients of Fordham faculty research grants.

—Janet Sassi

 


 
 

This Month in Fordham History

As President, McGinley Envisions a Greater Fordham

In February 1949, Fordham gained a new president who would launch the most significant physical expansion of the University since Archbishop John Hughes acquired the property for the Rose Hill campus in 1841.

New construction was just one ambition that Laurence J. McGinley, S.J., outlined right after he took office on Feb. 2. When he left 14 years later, Martyrs’ Court and a campus center had been built at Rose Hill. Dealy Hall had been renovated and a new Jesuit residence—Faber Hall—was almost complete. But McGinley’s most striking legacy was downtown, next to Columbus Circle.

Because Fordham’s downtown schools were outgrowing their building at 302 Broadway, McGinley had seized the opportunity to join the West Side redevelopment initiated by Robert Moses, the powerful city and state planner. Fordham bought a four-block portion of the site, becoming the first institution to fully embrace the project. The University opened its law school at the site in 1961, beginning the development of what is today Fordham-Lincoln Center.

—Chris Gosier

Laurence J. McGinley, S.J., enters the construction site that will become
Fordham-Lincoln Center.

 

 

 
 

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