Recently, I joined Rich Gordon, host of WVUD’s Campus Voices, and others for a deeply important and insightful examination of recent events on campus that illuminate the racial issues we still struggle with.  I was honored to listen to and learn from Abby and Guillermina, and am proud of the students on campus working towards a more inclusive, and less hostile, campus environment for everyone.  Please take a moment to listen, and also check out other editions of Campus Voices.

http://sites.udel.edu/campusvoices/2015/10/15/voicesofudel3

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Malcolm Gladwell, one of the foremost public scholars to disseminate sociological explanations of major social issues of our time, provides an insightful use of emergent norm theory in explaining mass school shootings in recent years.  Students of collective behavior should be particularly interested in his examination of these events.  Read the story here:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/thresholds-of-violence

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At this year’s Summer Faculty Institute, I presented on using PolicyMap to examine environmental justice issues in local Delaware.  Studying environmental justice communities with maps allows students to see several related social phenomena, including race and socio-economic status, layered with specific geographic areas that have disproportionate levels of environmental burdens.  The spatial patterns of race, socio-economic status, and pollution are not a coincidence, and have deep roots in industry, poverty, housing, race, and discrimination.  This presentation highlights one example drawn from the planned curriculum for a general education course on integrating spatial visualizations into social science analyses.  The curriculum, supported by a 2014-15 IT/CTAL Innovative Transformation Grant, is being developed for a course that will allow non-geography, non-social science students an opportunity to see the power of mapping in the social sciences without a sophisticated GIS background. The presentation is available via the link below, and the class will be taught in the Fall 2016 semester.  Stay tuned!

https://udcapture.udel.edu/events/sfi2015/?t=92116c82abf7c147f964c0bfdae049e1

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At the 2015 Summer Faculty Institute at UD this month, I am presenting on my efforts to create a new course/curriculum that integrates geo-spatial visualizations of social science phenomena for non-social science, non-geography students.  This course will use PolicyMap – cloud-based software with a geographic information systems (GIS) underpinning – that has powerful mapping tools that can analyze a variety of sociological issues.  The students do not need any prerequisites, nor a social science/GIS background to take the course, and will ultimately come out with deep insight into how spatial context is an integral component of understanding complex social issues.  My presentation at the Summer Faculty Institute will focus on creating layered maps that exemplify environmental justice issues, examining residential areas with disproportionately high levels of environmental burdens, high levels of poverty, and concentrations of people of color.  Here’s a link to the webpage for the Institute:

http://sites.udel.edu/sfi2015/2015/02/14/363/

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I was invited to give a presentation on my ongoing environmental justice research in Southbridge (South Wilmington, DE) at the recent “Earth, Equity, and Environment” speaker series on campus.  The audience was a mix of faculty, administrators, students, and staff, and culminated in an invigorating discussion of the issues.  A video of the presentation from the ISE Lab is below.  Video made possible by the Delaware Environmental Institute.

http://www.cas.udel.edu/isll/Speaker-Series-Spring-2015/Pages/Victor-Perez.aspx

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