Campus Currents

February 22, 2016

Naomi Klein (Photo by Kourosh Keshiri)

Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything

Award-winning journalist Naomi Klein will visit Framingham State University on Thursday, February 25, at 7 p.m. in DPAC for a special lecture based on her book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. The event is part of the President's Distinguished Lecture Series.

Fires, floods, droughts—how do we change the world before it changes so radically that no one is safe? Drawing on her new book, This Changes Everything, Klein tackles the climate crisis, the obstacles we face, political, economic, and ideological solutions necessary to build the next, regeneration-based economies. Can we pull off these changes in time?

#BlackLivesMatter Teach-In

Over 85 professors at Framingham State University have organized a special #BlackLivesMatter teach-in the week of February 22-26, culminating in a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, March 2, at 4:30 in DPAC.

The events are part of Framingham State’s celebration of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, in recognition of the fact that Black women, led by Alicia Garza, founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

“BlackLivesMatter is a large, contemporary social justice movement that we are connecting with in our classrooms and community through an interdisciplinary perspective,” Sociology Professor Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz says of the effort.

Over 33 academic disciplines--business to biochemistry; archaeology to American Sign Language--are taking part. Though this faculty initiative, participating professors plan to link their courses to the #BlackLivesMatter movement during the teach-in. On March 2, the FSU community will come together for a Town Hall meeting to share their experiences and ideas.

“It was remarkably simple to get people involved. It seems the ideas about BlackLivesMatter link to many, many classes,” says Sociology Professor Virginia Rutter. “It began with a few of us talking about it one morning in November. By the next day we had 35 participants. It grew from there.”

More than 140 courses that week will link to the teach-in, including:

-Communication Arts Professor Leslie Starobin will discuss Life Magazine’s coverage of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s with her Photojournalism students.

-Professor Ishara Mills-Henry’s Biochemistry students will discuss the famous HeLa cells, the Tuskegee experiments, and the crisis in Flint, Michigan.

-Economics Professor Luis Rosero’s Money and Banking students will look at redlining and “The Color of Money.”

-Psychologist and former FSU President Robert Martin will lead his psychology students in exercises that show how segregating groups based upon unequal resources can lead to the development of prejudice, in-group bias, and groupthink.

Other universities in Massachusetts have adopted the model and will be holding similar events, including Bridgewater State University, which has at least 80 classes involved, and Salem State University, where they have at least 80 classes involved. The Massachusetts College of Art is taking part as well.

Sociology Professor Lina Rincón, another teach-in founder, is excited about student engagement: “Along with all their classes, FSU students are engaging in photojournalism that will lead to a show later this spring, data analysis projects to be shared at the Town Hall, and follow up research on the experience of this enormous teach-in. Others are building a speakers bureau for continued conversations on campus about what they’ve studied as well as about other kinds of activism.”

Black History Month Speaker: Byron Hurt

The University is honored to be hosting award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and lecturer Byron Hurt as a guest speaker in February, as part of Black History Month. Hurt is the former host of the Emmy-nominated television show, REEL WORKS with BYRON HURT.

On February 24th, Hurt will be on campus to screen his film "Hip Hop:Beyond Beats and Rhymes" in the Dwight Hall Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by a talk with Hurt entitled "Hip Hop and Culture: How do Music, Messages and Images impact Society, Culture and Change?"

For more information about Hurt, visit

Temple Grandin Speaks to Massive Crowd at FSU

By Alexandra Gomes '16, publications intern

At the age of two, Dr. Temple Grandin was diagnosed with severe autism. Unable to speak, it was recommended by doctors that she be institutionalized.  Now, Grandin is the author of ten books and a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University.

Grandin’s success is largely due to her mother’s support and perseverance. She said her mother always encouraged her creative ability.

“We have to build up on what these kids are good at,” Grandin told a packed DPAC on Tuesday, Feb. 16. “There is too much emphasis on deficit, not enough emphasis on what they’re good at.”

Grandin explained how essential early educational intervention can be to the development of autistic children.

“Kid have got to learn how to take their turns,” said Temple, adding a routine schedule and being taught manners had a huge impact on her development.

Bullied and teased throughout much of her youth, Grandin said the only place she was not bullied was “shared interests.”

“Get kids involved with shared interests, because that’s where they’re going to have friends.”

Grandin first discovered her way of thinking was different while writing her book “Thinking in Pictures.”

Her way of thinking, she explained, requires specific context and examples. “That’s what’s called bottom-up thinking.”

She added, “If you want to teach a kid that has some learning problems the meaning of words like ‘up’ and ‘down,’ teach with many different examples.”

There are four different ways of thinking, according to Grandin, and “when you understand how different ways of thinking work, the skills can actually compliment each other.”

The different kinds of minds included visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers and auditory thinkers.

Since Grandin is a visual thinker, she had trouble with subjects in school such as algebra which are taught with less visual components, she said.

 “A lot of visual thinkers can’t do algebra, but they can do geometry,” Grandin said, adding that the “algebra barrier is holding back many capable kids in the education system. “Let them go do geometry.”

Grandin said many of our famous geniuses today may have been diagnosed as autistic if they were children now, such as Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein.

“Einstein didn’t know language until age three,” she said. “What would happen to little Albert Junior today?”

Grandin said that children need to start learning work skills at a young age. “I’m seeing too many kids on the spectrum graduating college and they’ve never done a job.”

She added a slow transition from the world of school to the world of work is needed.

“When the door to opportunity opens, people are often afraid to walk through it,” said Grandin. She added too many kids think they are not good enough, or haven’t been challenged.

Grandin explained how children tend to have “uneven skills,” and while they may struggle in one area, they excel in another.

“Lets build up on what they’re good at.”

Toward a 99% Revolution?

A special book talk with FSU Professor Dr. Jonathan Martin entitled "Toward a 99% Revolution? The 2016 Election and the Future of Progressive Politics," will take place on Thursday, March 3, at 4:30 p.m. in the Faculty/Staff Dining Room.

Recently, popular discontent with the political status quo has been fueling an upsurge of progressive movements and campaigns - including the fight for living wages, Black Lives Matter, climate change activism, the president campaign of Bernie Sanders and more. Could the United States be heading toward a deeper "political revolution," as advocated by Sanders? Based on his new book, Empowering Progressive Third Parties in the United States, Dr. Martin will discuss one critical way that such a profound change could evolve in the wake of the 2016 election.

Historian and Filmmaker Graham Peck

Historian and filmmaker Graham Peck will visit Framingham State on March 7th and 8th. He will introduce, screen, and lead a discussion about his PBS documentary film Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy on Monday, March 7th at 4:30 p.m. in the Heineman Center.

Peck, a Professor of History at Saint Xavier University, will also hold a workshop with faculty on Tuesday March 8th at 1:15 p.m. in the President's Conference Room 2 (Athletic Center) on “Learning History by Making Documentary Film.” This will be a wonderful opportunity for engaging in discussion about the merits of filmmaking as a way of doing historical scholarship.

For more information, contact Dr. Ira Silver at

SILD Day of Service

For this month's Day of Service, SILD will be running a fundraiser to raise money for Flint, Michigan. Currently, Flint, Michigan is in a water crisis because their water has been compromised by lead.  They are in need of funds for bottled water and filters, as none of the tap water is safe.  All funds raised by SILD will go to the Flint Water Fund organized by the Genesee County United Way, a nonprofit organization that has been working to deliver bottled water and water filters to those affected by the water crisis. Please consider stopping by one of our two tables to help us "Fill for Flint" an entire five gallon water jug with change and other cash donations. 

Stop by to donate on Wednesday, February 24th, in the Athletic Center 1st floor lobby or on Friday, February 26th, in the McCarthy Center lobby from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. If you have any questions please email For more information on the crisis in Flint and about the Genesee County United Way visit

Notable Accomplishments

-Dr. Thomas Koshy, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, has two articles published. They are: 1) Gibonomial Coefficients with Interesting Byproducts, The Fibonacci Quarterly, Vo. 53 (2015), 340-348. 2) A Gibonacci Puzzle with Dividends, Mathematical Spectrum, Vol. 48 (2016), 54-57.

Upcoming events

Thanksgiving Recess (Begins @ 4:30pm on Wed, Nov 22)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

8:30 am - 10:00 pm

Campus Wide - No Location

Organized by: University Registrar

Marijuana: Then and Now

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

McCarthy Campus Center Forum

Organized by: Wellness Education

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