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STLCC Faculty Share Expertise with Colleagues around the World

April 09, 2012

St. Louis Community College has a longstanding commitment to bringing a global perspective to classroom instruction. Faculty members are encouraged to share their expertise not only with students, but with colleagues around the world.

Three faculty members this year alone are making presentations at conferences in Burma, Spain and Argentina.

Lupardus Stresses Cultural Diversity to Future Teachers

Carol Lupardus  
Carol Lupardus near the Schwedegon Pagoda in Yangon,
Myanmar.

Carol Lupardus, professor in education at STLCC-Florissant Valley who also coordinates the college’s study abroad program in Canterbury, England, made a presentation on school board policy governance at the International School of Yangon (ISY) in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) March 16-17.

Lupardus’ work with the Missouri School Boards Association caught the attention of Tim Travers, ISY director, in 2009. Since then, the chair of the ISY Board of Education has invited Lupardus to present and work with the group on various issues.

“Every time I visit Yangon, I spend time in the ISY classrooms to observe the teaching process,” Lupardus said. “They have students from all over the world, and it is always fascinating to see how teachers make learning relevant to all cultures. “

Lupardus, who joined the STLCC faculty in 2001, also has had the opportunity to visit the public schools in Burma. In 2009, she traveled to Morocco through a Title IVA Grant and visited schools to learn how education systems differ around the world. 

“Visiting schools around the world broadens my personal perspective on education and educational systems, and I bring those lessons learned to my education students here at STLCC,” Lupardus said. “By incorporating a global perspective in my classroom, I am preparing future teachers to understand the importance of diverse cultural perspectives on the teaching and learning process.”

Collins Examines Public/Private Cooperation with Military Technology

Steven Collins  
Steven Collins

Steven G. Collins, Ph.D., professor in history at STLCC-Meramec, will present “Victorian Innovation? Yankee Enterprise versus English Conservatism in Military Technology” at the International Committee for the History of Technology’s 39th Symposium, slated for July 10-14 in Barcelona, Spain. Collins was chosen to present by Barton Hacker of the Smithsonian Institution, who is organizing a symposium on the social history of military technology at the conference.

Collins’ presentation will focus on how government policies and the business climate enhanced or thwarted military technological progress in England and the United States by comparing the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts and the Enfield Armory in England in the 1850s. Using the diaries of James Burton, who worked as the Master Armorer at the Harpers Ferry Armory, as a contractor in the Connecticut Valley, and as an engineer at the Enfield Armory, Collins investigated how the United States and England differed in their views of private and public cooperation.

“The Springfield Armory worked closely with contractors and reaped the rewards of innovation,” Collins noted. “The Enfield Armory, however, remained secretive and jealous of private firms and, arguably, lost out on the benefits of cooperation.”

Martino-Taylor Sheds Light on Military Weapons Testing on Civilian Populations

Lisa Martino-Taylor  
Lisa Martino-Taylor

Lisa Martino-Taylor, instructor in sociology at Meramec, will present “Behind the Fog of the Cold War: The Manhattan-Rochester Coalition and Tests on Vulnerable Populations without Consent” at the International Sociological Association Forum this August in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The forum is devoted to discussion related to the challenges to and possibilities for promoting social justice and democratization in the 21st century.

Martino-Taylor’s paper was selected from more than a thousand abstracts submitted to the ISA from around the world. Her research focused on U.S. military weapons testing on civilian populations during the Cold War. At that time, the U.S. military engaged in a series of secret tests on civilian populations in various North American cities, to test new types of weapons that were being developed by a network of scientists involved in a secret spin-off group from the Manhattan Project. In at least one series of tests between 1953 and 1965, officials sprayed an aerosolized compound in an urban area where low-income persons of color resided, in St. Louis, Mo. Their task was an ultra-secret project that involved in part, human subject testing related to weaponized radiation. This vast project transcended national boundaries, Martino-Taylor noted, and ultimately targeted tens of thousands of unwitting, disempowered and dehumanized civilians, who were purposely tested for, and exposed to, toxic compounds without their knowledge or consent, in a blatant violation of civil and human rights. 

“Through understanding the specific elements and mechanisms of complex institutional deviance that disengage critical analysis, and pave the path towards victimization of populations, we can develop public policies that prioritize the public’s right to know, and construct checks and methods to minimize the chance of covert projects that are contrary to societal norms, human dignity and human rights,” Martino-Taylor said.

Stephens Researches Learning Communities and Language Acquisition

Italy has been the destination on several occasions for Chris Stephens, professor in communications/theater at STLCC-Florissant Valley. His research examines the effects of participating in learning communities and short-term study abroad programs on students. His current research collaboration involves quantifying and evaluating the effects of learning communities on the acquisition of linguistic and cultural fluency. Results of this work have been published and presented at several international conferences, most recently at the 2011 European Conference on Behavior-Based Safety and Applied Behavior Analysis in Milan, Italy.

Stephens annually leads Florissant Valley's Italian Studies Learning Community, which brings together a group of students, faculty and community members in a collective study of a specific region of Italy – including but not limited to its language, cultural practices, history, art, music, theatre, architecture and cuisine. Imbedded in this semester-long academic opportunity is a short-term immersion experience in Italy.

"Globalizing our students' experiences is increasingly important to their long-term development," Stephens said. "Being well prepared for an immersion experience, culturally and linguistically, allows students to fully engage in and maximize the effects of their study abroad. I continue to be moved by the reaction of students to the cultural encounters. The phrase may be overused, but their reflections indicate a profound and life-changing impact."

In 2010, Stephens and Paul Higdon, professor of music at Florissant Valley, collaborated with Orizon Danza, a folkloric dance company of Busto Garolfo, Italy, in the creation of a multicultural performance project titled “Worlds Apart, Ma Non Così Diversi.”

This performance, which included text, music and choreography, was developed with musicians and actors from St. Louis Community College and dancers from Orizon Danza of Busto Garolfo.  Following rehearsals, the production was performed in Italian during a Northern Italy tour and in English during a Midwestern U.S. tour. The project was the subject of several articles in Italian newspapers.

Chris Stephens  
Chris Stephens annually leads Florissant Valley's Italian Studies Learning Community trip.