Social Justice

Advisory: The case for a new medical college admission test

Friday, Apr. 6, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Who: Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., available to comment on New England Journal of Medicine article released today: “Building a Better Physician — The Case for the New MCAT”  

What: The case for evaluating the behavioral and social sciences in medical entrance exams and education

  • Kington is co-author of an article that supports changes in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) by 2015 to include evaluation of knowledge in the behavioral and social sciences and critical analysis and reasoning.
  • It is not enough for physicians to understand “hard” sciences like anatomy or pathology. Today’s doctors need to understand the role of behavioral and social factors in wellness and outcomes. For example, how can a patient from a high-crime neighborhood get exercise to manage diabetes?
  • Health behaviors and social circumstances help explain a substantial portion of life expectancy differences among groups defined by income, race, sex, or age.
  • The proposed revisions to the MCAT recognize that physicians need foundational knowledge in the behavioral and social sciences similar to that expected in the basic sciences.
  • Kington can address the ties between social factors and physical health; issues of social justice and wellness; and the importance of broad-based preparation for aspiring physicians.
  • He previously served at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including as NIH Principal Deputy Director and NIH Acting Director, NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and Acting Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  Prior to NIH, he was a division director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he led the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), one of the nation's largest studies assessing the health of the American people. 

Contact: To interview Raynard Kington, Grinnell College, contact Jim Reische, communications, reischej@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3404; to interview co-author Robert M. Kaplan, NIH, contact Ann Benner, annb@nih.gov, 301-594-4574; to interview co-author Jason Satterfield, contact jsatter@medicine.ucsf.edu.

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Advisory: Social Entrepreneurs group finalist in White House competition

Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG), a student-run nonprofit microfinance lending organization at Grinnell College, is one of 15 finalists in the White House “Campus Champions of Change Challenge.”

SEG was chosen from more than 1,400 submissions and is the only small college finalist and the only from Iowa. The Campus Champions of Change initiative highlights innovative ideas on college campuses across the country and aims to inspire others to get involved in their communities.

In its five years of operation, SEG has expanded from providing international loans in remote communities to also working to improve conditions in local communities. The microfinance organization has loaned more than $37,000 to 44 countries, with $13,000 going to 25 individuals in the Grinnell area.

The project selected for the competition—SEG’s Local Loans Project—provides emergency, no-interest microloans to individuals for medical expenses, automobile repairs, education, and repayment of high-interest loans from payday loan sharks.

Voting for the Challenge continues until Sat., Mar. 3 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The top five finalists will be invited to an event at the White House, will be featured on mtvU and MTV Act, and the overall winner will host an episode of mtvU’s signature program, “The Dean’s List.”

To speak to a SEG student coordinator, please contact Cindy Deppe, communications, deppec@grinnell.edu, 641-269-4834.

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"Listening, Learning, Leading on the Global Stage" by World Food Prize lecturer Jo Luck

Monday, Sep. 26, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - 2010 World Food Prize laureate Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, will deliver a public lecture at Grinnell College on Wed., Oct. 12 about her experiences in leading the world hunger assistance organization. Her lecture, “Listening, Learning, Leading on the Global Stage,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Harris Center Cinema on the Grinnell campus. A light buffet dinner will precede in the Harris Center atrium. At 6:30 p.m., following the lecture, there will be a public reception in the atrium with music by Too Many Strings Band.

Luck served as president and CEO of Heifer International from 1992 to 2010, and director of international programs from 1989 to 1992. Under her leadership, the organization, which brings food- and incoming-producing livestock to impoverished families, grew from 20,000 to 500,000 supporters and expanded scope of efforts throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia and the South Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Grinnell has hosted World Food Prize lecturers for more than six years as part of a World Food Prize outreach program at Iowa educational institutions during the week the prize is awarded. The 2011 World Food Prize will be awarded at the state capitol Oct. 13 to John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, who led significant hunger and poverty reduction efforts in their respective countries.

Luck’s lecture is sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave. on the Grinnell campus. For more information about the Rosenfield Program, contact Sarah Purcell, purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.

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"Can China Save the World?" convocation by modern China historian Karl Gerth '88

Monday, Sep. 19, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Modern China historian Karl Gerth will question “Can China Save the World?” at a Scholars’ Convocation on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus.

Drawing on research in his latest book, “As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers are Transforming Everything,” Gerth explains how—from brand choice to environmental quality—citizens around the world are affected by the everyday choices made by the Chinese population.

Gerth, a 1988 Grinnell graduate, has conducted research in China and Japan for more than 25 years, with special interests in consumerism, nationalism, environmentalism, and everyday life under communism. His previous book, “China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation,” focused on the role of nationalism in forming a consumer culture in pre-World War II China. He currently teaches at the University of Oxford, where he is a fellow and tutor at Merton College.

Gerth’s Grinnell lecture is part of the college’s ongoing Scholars’ Convocation series. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.

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2012 nominations for Social Justice Prize open through Nov. 14

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell, IA 9/7/11

Grinnell College today announced the call for nominations for the 2012 Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize. This prize program, now in its second year, honors individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. Up to three $100,000 awards will be divided evenly, with half going to the individual(s) and half to the organization(s) committed to each winner’s area of social justice.

Last year’s winners of the Grinnell Prize, selected from more than 1,000 nominations from 66 countries, include Boris Bulayev, president, and Eric Glustrom, executive director, Educate! (shared award); James Kofi Annan, executive director, Challenging Heights; and Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, co-founder and director emeritus, Encounter. They will receive their awards on campus at the Social Justice Prize Symposium October 25-27.

Grinnell encourages entries for 2012 from across a wide range of fields, including science, medicine, the environment, humanities, business, economics, education, law, public policy, social services, religion and ethics, as well as projects that cross these boundaries. Nominations are also encouraged from areas that may not have been traditionally viewed as directly connected to social justice, such as the arts and business. Nominees may be U.S. citizens or nationals of other countries; no affiliation to Grinnell College is required.

A selection committee will evaluate the nominations based on how candidates have embraced the values of a liberal arts education, including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, free inquiry and commitment to using and sharing knowledge to better humanity. The selection committee will be chaired by George A. Drake, a 1956 graduate who served as Grinnell’s president from 1979 to 1991. Committee members are recognized individuals who work for social change in various capacities – largely Iowa-based – and represent the college’s faculty, student body, alumni, staff and trustees, plus prominent individuals not formally affiliated with Grinnell.

The Grinnell Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize program directly reflects the College’s historic mission to educate men and women “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.”

The idea for the Grinnell Prize originated with Grinnell’s president, Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., who began his tenure as the college’s thirteenth president in August, 2010. “Given the college’s longstanding belief in social justice as a core tenet of its liberal arts academic mission, I am proud to recognize and honor young individuals who embody our values and organizations that share our commitment to change the world,” said Kington. “With this award, we’re honoring those who practice what we teach. Our 2011 winners have made extraordinary contributions in the pursuit of positive social change, and I look forward to an even larger group of outstanding candidates for our 2012 Prize program.”

Nominations for the 2012 Prize are due by November 14, with winners to be announced at the beginning of the academic year in 2012. In the fall of 2012, the college will hold a special symposium on campus featuring public lectures by prize recipients regarding their experiences and perspectives in shaping innovative social change. Details of the program and its nomination process are available at www.grinnell.edu/socialjusticeprize.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations and pre-professional programs.

U.S. immigration experts to examine all sides of timely policy issue Apr. 11-14

Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell, IA

3/29/11

Immigration—complicated policies, controversial possibilities. A Grinnell College symposium on “U.S. Immigration Policy,” Apr. 11-14, will examine a wide range of viewpoints on this timely topic, with experts on both sides of open and closed borders; representatives of immigration and asylum services; and interdisciplinary perspectives on the way forward.

“No matter what your point of view,” said Sarah Purcell, director of the college’s Rosenfield Program, “there’s agreement that U.S. immigration policy is broken. It’s a topic of local, state, national, and international concern that touches people in unexpected ways, and we plan to explore all sides of this policy issue.”

The immigration policy symposium, sponsored by Grinnell’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights, will include the following free, public events:

• Mon., Apr. 11, 12 noon: Immigration-related student presentations based on tutorial projects, mentored advanced projects (MAPs), and Alternative Break projects. Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 2nd floor atrium.

• Mon., Apr. 11, 7 p.m.: Teach-In by members of the Grinnell faculty providing interdisciplinary background on immigration from the fields of sociology, history, political science, and anthropology.

• Tues., Apr. 12, 4:15 p.m.: Mark Kirkorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, will argue for tighter controls in “Mass Immigration vs. Modern Society.” The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit research organization which examines the impact of immigration on U.S. resources. Kirkorian frequently testifies before Congress and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nightline, NewsHour with James Lehrer, CNN, and NPR.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 4:15 p.m.: Jonathan Blazer, policy attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, will discuss the interaction between federal and state immigration laws. The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to advancing the rights of low-income immigrant families. Blazer’s main focus at the law center is on promoting immigrant access to economic supports and educational opportunities.

• Wed., Apr. 13, 8 p.m.: Representatives from immigration services throughout the state will lead a panel discussion on “Iowa and U.S. Immigration Policy.”

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 11 a.m.: The Scholars’ Convocation on “A Nation of Immigrants?” will be delivered by Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia University. Her book, “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America,” has won numerous awards for addressing the controversial topic of immigration reform.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 4:15 p.m.: Jeffrey Heller, a New York City asylum attorney, will offer perspectives on representing asylum seekers. Heller has taught clinical immigration and asylum law, written on immigration issues for Bender’s Immigration Bulletin and The Westchester Guardian, and opened his home to released immigrants for more than 25 years. Heller’s daughter Rebecca is a senior history major at Grinnell.

• Thurs., Apr. 14, 8 p.m.: Wall St. Journal editorial board member Jason Riley will close the symposium with a discussion of his book “Let Them In,” which stresses the economic value of open borders. Riley has worked since 1994 at the Journal, where he continues to write on social issues such as immigration reform.

All symposium events will be held in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center on the Grinnell College campus, unless otherwise noted. For more information about the symposium, contact Sarah Purcell,purcelsj@grinnell.edu, 641-269-3091.

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Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize announced

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College today announced the creation of a $300,000 annual prize program to honor individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in their fields and who show creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. The Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize will carry an award of $100,000, half to the individual and half to an organization committed to the winner’s area of social justice. One to three awards will be given each year for a total of up to $300,000 in prize monies.

The program directly reflects Grinnell’s historic mission to educate men and women “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.” Nominees may be U.S. citizens or nationals of other countries; no affiliation to Grinnell College is required. Entries are encouraged across a wide range of fields, including science, medicine, the environment, humanities, business, economics, education, law, public policy, social services, religion and ethics, as well as projects that cross these boundaries. The program will make a special effort to seek nominations of individuals who work in areas that may not have been traditionally viewed as directly connected to social justice, such as the arts and business.

The idea for The Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize originated with Grinnell’s new president, Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., who began his tenure as the college’s thirteenth president in August, 2010. “I was attracted to Grinnell, in part, by the college’s longstanding belief in social justice as a core tenet of its liberal arts academic mission,” said Dr. Kington. “In creating this prize, we hope to encourage and recognize young individuals who embody our core values and organizations that share our commitment to change the world.”

Details of the program and its nomination process are available at www.grinnell.edu/socialjusticeprize. Each year, Grinnell will assemble a diverse panel of judges to evaluate the nominations and select winners who have demonstrated leadership, innovation, commitment, collaboration and extraordinary accomplishment in advancing social justice within their chosen fields. Judging criteria will also focus on how nominees embrace the values of a liberal arts education, including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, free inquiry and commitment to using and sharing knowledge for the common good.

“This prize represents a significant expansion of Grinnell’s educational philosophy,” said David White, chair of the board of trustees and Grinnell College class of 1990. “It extends the college’s mission beyond our campus and alumni community to individuals anywhere who believe, as we do, in the importance of social justice throughout the world.”

Nominations for the 2011 Prize are due by Feb. 1, with winners to be announced in May 2011, as the capstone of President Kington’s inaugural activities. In October of 2011, the college will hold a special symposium on campus featuring public lectures by prize recipients regarding their experiences and perspectives in shaping innovative social justice programs.

Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations and pre-professional programs.

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Alumni receive Joseph F. Wall '41 Service Awards

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA— Two Grinnell College alumni have been awarded Joseph F. Wall Alumni Service Awards of $25,000 each for service projects in their selected non-profit organizations.

The Wall Alumni Service Awards are named for the late Joseph F. Wall, a Grinnell College alumnus and long-time professor of history who inspired an ideal of social responsibility in his Grinnell students. The awards provide financial support for Grinnell graduates to engage in service projects, programs, and organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of others.

Alumni awarded service project grants in home communities

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:30 am

GRINNELL, IA— Two Grinnell College alumni have been awarded Lori Ann Schwab Alumni Grants for service projects in their home communities.

The Schwab alumni grants are named for the late Lori Ann Schwab who died while an arts student at Grinnell in 1994. The $1,500 grants support projects at non-profit service organizations and public schools where Grinnell alumni participate.

The 2010 Schwab Alumni Grant winners are:

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