Alumni CLASnotes Fall 2007
In This Issue:

Campus Views

Institute of Justice Recognizes Sociology and Criminology & Law Professor

Chris Gibson received the prestigious W.E.B. Du Bois Fellowship from the National Institute of Justice. During his fellowship, Gibson will be conducting research on victimization and delinquent involvement among Hispanic children and adolescents residing in various Chicago neighborhoods. Specifically, he and his colleague, Holly Ventura-Miller at the University of Texas San Antonio, will be using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) to understand how assimilation and acculturation processes affect victimization and delinquency, while at the same time attempting to capture the neighborhood context in which these processes occur. This work extends Gibson's current research on how neighborhood influences impact children and adolescents, with a specific focus on one particular ethnic group. Further, this work will extend his empirical research testing various theories of criminal and deviant behavior.

University of Florida Professor Wins International Education Award

The History of Science Society has awarded the 2009 Joseph H. Hazen Education Prize, for excellence in education, to Frederick Gregory, professor of history of science at the University of Florida.  Gregory's distinguished accomplishments as an educator in history of science range across a remarkably broad range of media, including not just conventional lectures, seminars, textbooks, and web resources but also film, television, DVD, and theatrical role-play. Through these energetic activities, his rich insights from history of science in all periods have inspired many high school teachers and their students, as well as undergraduates, graduate students, scientists, and the general public. An outstanding educator in the history of science, Gregory has been able to cultivate a high level of expertise in communicating history of science across diverse audiences, and with a consistently enthralling effect. For example, after his pre-collegiate lectures, Florida 7th-graders have surrounded Gregory -- apparently unwilling to let him leave the building until all their questions have been answered. And as one of Gregory's graduate students recalled, "I will always consider Gregory to be not only my intellectual mentor but one of my most important role models for teaching."

Frederick Gregory is the author of numerous books and articles, including the textbook Natural Science in Western History (2007) with Wadsworth, Cengage Learning and appears in the audio-visual lecture courses History of Science: 1700-1900 (2005) and The Darwinian Revolution (2009) with The Teaching Company. The History of Science Society, established in 1924, is the world's largest society devoted to fostering interest in the history of science.

Back to the Delta: Ongoing Documentation of the Civil Rights Movement

SPOHP Research Team
SPOHP research team in Indianola, Mississippi
Photo: Steve Davis

In August, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at UF returned to the Mississippi Delta to continue research on the civil rights movement with veteran civil rights activists and leading scholars of the Mississippi Freedom Movement. SPOHP's research team of UF undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students from FSU, collaborated with the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, focusing on the movement's origins and researching its impact, as well as documenting contemporary legacies in a region that gave birth to one of the most vibrant social movements in American history.

Under the supervision of Mississippi Valley State University Professor Stacy J. White and legendary civil rights activist Charles McLaurin, the SPOHP team expanded the geographic scope of their 2008 research in which they interviewed veterans of the civil rights movement on the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the establishment of freedom schools to teach voter literacy to the youth of the time, the leadership of local African Americans in the civil rights movement, and the personal histories from participants in Mississippi's Freedom Summer of 1964.

The 2009 research trip included a public panel on the legacies of the Civil Rights and Black Power eras, held at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Participants joining SPOHP Director Paul Ortiz included: Professor Hasan Jeffries, author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt; Professor Emilye Crosby, author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle In Claiborne County, Mississippi; and Professor Curtis Austin, author of Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party.

"The history of the black freedom struggle in the Deep South is undergoing a scholarly revolution," Ortiz said, "and UF students will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to chronicle the history of a movement that changed American history. Our students will gather oral history interviews that will be used by future generations of students and scholars interested in learning the lessons of civic engagement, citizenship and social change taught by courageous activists who risked their lives in the face of tremendous odds."

To highlight the event, SPOHP produced a podcast in early August featuring selected segments from 2008, including interviews of longtime Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activists and civil rights movement educators Margaret Block and Hollis Watkins on the history of SNCC, the importance of music in the civil rights movement, and the ongoing fight for racial equality. For more information, visit or

Reaching Out and Growing Up: New Directors Set the Pace

CLASnotes caught up with Ann Henderson, new director of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, and Bonnie Effros, new director of the Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere, learn more about the direction in which they are leading these cutting-edge centers.

Before she became director of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, Ann Henderson was executive director of the Florida Humanities Council where she negotiated topics and funding for humanities and its influence on the public sphere. Through this job, she met then-Governor Bob Graham in 1984.

"I was impressed that the governor would spend time talking to me about humanities," Henderson said. "(Graham) loves the world of ideas."

She continued to work with Graham through his years as Governor and Senator for Florida. She became director of the Bob Graham Center in July 2009. When Henderson arrived, there was already a small team running the Bob Graham Center. They created the academic program, which has now evolved into a minor. The Bob Graham Center offers internships and academic programs and brings high-profile speakers to Gainesville.

Henderson continues to work closely with the former Senator to actualize the goals and mission of the Bob Graham Center, to ensure that UF graduates can be effective, actively participating citizens.

"Effective citizens come from all colleges," Henderson said. "You don't have to be in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to work with the Bob Graham Center."

Henderson's goals are to better support the Bob Graham Center's academic programs, create informed citizenship among UF students, and focus on electronic communications.

Her aim for greater electronic communication was actualized when former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) spoke in Pugh Hall about the debate over health care reform on January 19, 2010. The speech was streamed live on the Web site.

"A strong Web presence is important, since the public policy center is located in Gainesville, which is such a small town. Our center needs to be an electronic and global community," Henderson said.

Henderson also plans to assist UF in becoming more global -- in 2010 the Bob Graham Center will host an Americorps program. The program pairs up students with one of the 1,400 UF employees who are not US citizens. These employees often didn't learn English as their first language or don't have the educational background to pass the citizenship test, so the students assist the employees in studying and preparing.

"The program fits well with both making effective citizens and making our workforce stronger," Henderson said.

Bonnie Effros began as director of the Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere in mid-August 2009. CLAS began exploring the idea for the center in 1999.

The Humanities Center aims to promote research, provide a place for discussion, and reach out to the community. It does this through research funding and lecture series. All programs are free and open to the public.

"Faculty and students should take advantage of our programs," Effros said. "We help them to bring in speakers from all disciplines of the humanities."

For example, the Humanities Center has organized the Caleb and Michele Grimes Conference on Liberal Arts and Public Affairs, called "Tracking Citizens and Subjects: Evolving Technologies of Identity." The Humanities Center is also sponsoring a talk on the state of humanities by J. Hillis Miller and co-sponsoring several events including, FLEXfest, an experimental film festival.

"I plan to generate more activities that address the needs of the general public through promotion of public humanities and enhancement of the university's current commitment to civic engagement," Effros said.

Effros plans to apply for grants and privately raise funds to assist in these goals.

"I thought that contributing to the creation of a humanities center would be both exciting and rewarding," she said of her new position. "I enjoy a challenge and the current economic climate has provided one."

Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for Carol Murphy

Carol Murphy, director of the France-Florida Research Institute (FFRI) and a professor of French in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, received the title Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, or Knight of the Legion, for her work in facilitating academic and research collaboration between France and the U.S. The decoration ceremony took place in November in Washington, D.C.

"I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized by France for my efforts, but no one stands alone in such enterprises," Murphy said. "I have many colleagues in French studies at UF to thank for their collective energy and expertise in making the FFRI a success."

Founded in 2002 though a grant procured by Murphy, the France Florida Research Institute is one of only 14 centers of excellence in French studies in the U.S. recognized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The FFRI serves as an umbrella organization to promote partnerships between the University of Florida and French and Francophone research centers and academic institutions, including the Institut d'études politiques and the Ecole pratique des hautes études. The institute has sponsored numerous lectures, two international conferences, 18 visiting professorships, film festivals and concerts related to France and Francophone countries.

"One of the immense pleasures of directing the FFRI is the opportunity to increase international visibility for the excellence of UF's academic mission," Murphy said.

Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honor recognizes civilians and the military for serving the state or upholding the ideals of France. Other Americans who have been named to the Legion include Generals George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur, chef Julia Child, inventor Thomas Edison and aviator Charles Lindbergh.

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