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W&M faculty in the media this month

  • Kirk J. Havens
    Kirk J. Havens  is the Director of the Coastal Watershed Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). He was recently quoted in the Daily Press.  
  • Kyung H. Kim
    Kyung H. Kim  is a Assistant Professor of Educational Pyschology at the College of William & Mary. She was recently quoted in the MetroParent.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Jody L. Allen
    Jody L. Allen  is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Coordinator of the Lemon Project at the College of William & Mary. She was recently quoted in the BBC News.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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Following are selected examples of William & Mary faculty and staff members in the media. - Ed.

U.N. tribunal finds former Bosnian Serb leader guilty of genocide

In a March 24 Washington Post article, Nancy Combs, Ernest W. Goodrich Professor of Law at William & Mary provided commentary on Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic being found guilty of genocide.

According to the Post, Karadzic was found guilty of 10 charges for his role in the slayings of 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Karadzic, 70, was sentenced to 40 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal.

 “We must redouble our efforts to ensure that the prosecution of Radovan Karadzic does not stand as an isolated island of accountability in a sea of impunity,” Combs said.

What’s killing creativity in kids?

In a March 15 MetroParent article, Kyung Hee Kim, assistant professor of educational psychology discussed the recent downward trend of creativity test scores in children.

According to the article, studies show Americans are becoming less creative. Kim found a drop of 37 percent between 1984 and 2008.

“The creativity crisis begins at home,” Kim said. “Parents with little tolerance for mess, noise and ambiguity may demand kids speak, think and act ‘“correctly”’ – leaving little room for individuality. And leisure activities like TV and video games can make kids passive consumers, rather than stimulating their innovative energies.”

Marine Debris Summit urges prevention strategies

In a March 8 Daily Press article, Kirk Havens, William & Mary’s research associate professor and director of the Coastal Watershed Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), talked about ways to stop people from polluting Virginia waterways.

According to the Press, preventing litter in waterways begins at home and at school, houses of worship, neighborhood cleanups, workplaces, and public parks. That was part of the message at the 2nd Virginia Marine Debris Summit that took place at VIMS in March.

At the summit, speakers laid out numerous solutions, all focused on convincing people to choose to change their behavior. 10-15 billion plastic shotgun wads are produced every year, said Havens. A shotgun wad is the small plastic cylinder that holds the pellets.

"This material just doesn't go away," said Havens. "This ends up in the system — and, unfortunately, the stomachs of foraging ocean birds."

Havens and others at VIMS have developed a natural polymer that could reduce the problem, the process would only add about a buck to a $25 box of shotgun shells. He and his team are patenting the concept.

Refugee migration topic of Great Decisions lecture

In a March 8 Virginia Gazette article, Angela M. Banks, professor of law at William & Mary, spoke about the issue of refugee migration around the world at the Great Decisions lecture series.       

According to the article, smugglers, political detention and physical and sexual assault are some of the dangers refugees face when traveling to safer borders.

Banks' lecture focused on two areas of concern: Central America and Syria.

"There are no good options," for refugees, Banks said. "Staying at home means certain death. Traveling ... means there are certain abuses you might suffer. At least there is a light at the end of that tunnel."

Harvard drawn into race battle at U.S. universities

In a March 3 BBC News article Jody L. Allen, professor of history and Lemon Project coordinator, spoke about the decision by Harvard to use the term "faculty deans" to describe the lead advisors of student dormitories, instead of "house masters," which seems to be reminiscence of slavery in the United States.

According to BBC, Harvard is not the only Ivy League school to dispense with "master" in some academic titles. Yale and Princeton have discontinued its use, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology is considering a similar change.

In addition, the article posed a question. Is the word "master" which has its roots in the Latin term "magister," a term for a scholar or teacher, and is found throughout academia from the title of "headmaster" to earning one's "master’s degree" offensive or inherently racist?

Allen had this to say.

"Most of the time we have an image when we think of slavery, unfortunately that's that everyone worked and lived on a plantation. We don't think about the fact that churches and businesses and colleges and universities owned slaves. It’s not in the textbooks.”