SUDTalks 2019 Tickets on Sale Now

The Delray Beach Drug Task Force, in association with the FAU Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work, is proud to present SUD Talks 2019 (short for Substance Use Disorder Talks, a la the wildly popular TED Talks series, which features brief, eye-opening lectures).

SUD Talks is an annual, must-see event open to students, faculty, staff, and the South Florida community. Hear dynamic and engaging speakers deliver compelling messages surrounding substance use disorder: prevention is essential, treatment works, and recovery is attainable and sustainable. Then walk away filled with hope and an understanding of how we can all reduce stigma and make a difference!

Why Now
Substance Use Disorders have reached pandemic proportions in our country and the battle against the ever-rising tide of addiction is never ending. Come join us on March 9, 2019 and hear how others are making a difference and how you can too. Come hear how all of us can change the way we think, feel, believe, and treat Substance Use Disorder across the United States.

Your Ticket Makes a Difference
The money raised from this event provides scholarships for Social Work students attending the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work at FAU and funding for the programming efforts of the Delray Beach Drug Task Force.

Featured Speakers

  • Kathryn Helgaas Burgum: First Lady of North Dakota and recovery advocate
  • Andrew Burki: Founder of Life of Purpose Treatment and Director of Public Policy for City Line Behavioral Healthcare Group
  • Susan Cheever: acclaimed best-selling author
  • Dr. Heather Howard: Assistant Professor in Social Work at FAU
  • William Cope Moyers, Master of Ceremonies: Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Relations for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
  • Scott Strode: Founder & National Executive Director of The Phoenix

Where to Be and When
SUD Talks 2019 will take place on Saturday, March 9th from 3:00-5:30 PM, followed by a Q&A, at the FAU University Theatre. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

Chances are, we all know someone who will benefit from this message of hope. Thank you for spreading the word!

Senior Social Work Student Crowned Homecoming Queen 2018

Senior social work student Tajae Stringer believes that actions, not popularity, are what defines a person’s character, and this is a personal creed she has been practicing long before she was named Queen. Tajae has service hours on her transcript dating back to Fall 2015, her first semester at FAU, and she was on the Dean’s and President’s List in both Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.

After being nominated by her former sorority sister, completing an application, essay, and interview, and then being selected by her peers in a campus-wide vote, Tajae was named Homecoming Queen during the Saturday, November 10th homecoming football game.

How did you feel when you were on the field before your name was announced?

TS: Prior to hearing the announcement that I had won, I was soooooo nervous. I didn’t realize how many people were in the stands until I was on the field and saw them all looking at me. Right before we headed out to the center of the field, I heard some of my friends screaming my name, and hearing them definitely calmed my nerves a lot.

What does it mean to you to be named Homecoming Queen?

TS: Many times, in movies, the winning homecoming royalty members are typically extremely popular and viewed as the faces of their school. However, I do not believe that homecoming royalty should be determined by one’s popularity, but instead by their actions. I live by the quote, “actions speak louder than words” because, regardless of who you are or what title you have in front of your name, the longest impression you will leave on others is through your own personal actions.

FAU Homecoming 2018 Queen and King, Tajae Stringer and Juwan Hayes

FAU Homecoming 2018 Queen and King, Tajae Stringer and Juwan Hayes

What is your advice for students just starting their college careers at FAU?

TS: I came to FAU from Connecticut not knowing anyone in the state at all. It was quite overwhelming, but I knew that if I wanted to enjoy my experience here, I would have to get involved. Since I have been here, I have joined the Mentoring Project, Major Platforms, Women Empowerment Club, National Council of Negro Women, Fashion Forward, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

I have also worked at the Center for Teaching and Learning and as a Resident Assistant in Heritage Park Towers. In addition to my campus involvement, I have also been volunteering at Pearl City CATS since my freshman year as a tutor for the children at their after-school program. Through all of my involvement, I have really gotten the chance to build connections with so many wonderful individuals and give back to my community.

How does it feel to represent the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work at FAU with your crown?

TS: It’s a true honor. My experience with the Phyllis and Harvey Sander School of Social Work has been nothing short of amazing. Ever since I started taking more of my core classes for my major, every professor, advisor, and classmate I’ve met has made such a positive impact in my life, and I can’t wait to make the same type of impact in the future when I am a social worker. It truly is amazing to be surrounded by such supportive individuals who care to make a difference in the lives of others.

What are your plans after graduation?

TS: I am currently interning at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in West Palm Beach. I shadow the Child Protective Investigators when they go out on their cases and when they go to court for shelter hearings. I am hoping to be accepted into the MSW Advanced Standing Program here at FAU after I graduate. In the future, I would love to start my own non-profit organization for children who come from low-income families to help support their academics and provide them with the necessary resources to do so.

Arthritis Study Wins “Best Paper” from American Journal of Public Health

JuYoung Park, Associate Professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work, has won a highly-coveted “Best Paper of the Year” Editor’s Choice Award from the American Journal of Public Health for her co-authored study “Various Types of Arthritis in the United States: Prevalence and Age-Related Trends from 1999 to 2014”.

“Given the health and economic burden of arthritis, understanding prevalence trends is of significant public health interest,” Park said. “Because of these burdens, developing cost-saving and effective treatments are necessary to minimize arthritis symptoms, maximize functional capacity, reduce disability and, moreover, improve the quality of life for the more than 350 million people worldwide who are affected by arthritis.”

Dr. Park has been invited to attend the 2018 APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego to accept her award at the Public Health Awards Reception and Ceremony. The AJPH will also run a feature column on the winning publications in their December 2018 issue.

Explore FAU 2018 – College Expedition

More than 100 prospective students and family members visited the College for Design and Social Inquiry during the “College Expedition” portion of Explore FAU 2018.  It was a great opportunity for Owl hopefuls to visit the colleges and departments they’re most interested in and speak with faculty and existing students about what it would be like to be a student in their respective degree programs.

Public Ethics Academy Receives $500,000 Endowment


The Public Ethics Academy at FAU just received some major news, to the tune of a nearly $500,000 endowment from the former Collins Center for Public Policy in Miami. FAU was invited to make a formal proposal of how it would apply the disbursed funds, along with three other Florida entities – which included the Florida Humanities Council, Florida International University, and Miami Dade College. Ultimately, the Collins Center Board unanimously awarded their generous financial gift to FAU to name the LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy, in honor of former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, who governed from 1955 to 1960.

“Our objective was very clear: to preserve the legacy of Governor Collins, who was really a man ahead of his time and a shining example of ethics, integrity, and courage,” said Merrett Stierheim, former Collins Center board chairman. “Each proposing organization made a very genuine and sincere effort to respond to the criteria that we set forth, but at the end of the day, the vote was unanimously in favor of FAU because of the quality of their submission.”


Applying the Funds

In addition to naming the Public Ethics Academy, which lives within the College for Design and Social Inquiry under the School of Public Administration, the annual interest from the endowment corpus will be used to fund student scholarships, awarded as a result of essay submissions that cover the life and leadership of Governor Collins.

“The student essays will be permanent representatives of what the Governor stood for and believed in; but more importantly, that kind of [scholarly] competition will expose a lot of young people to his work,” said Joe Oglesby, Collins Center board member. “The research that they do will illuminate his achievements in a very special way that will be around for generations after generations.”


Remembering Governor Collins

Oglesby recalls being a young boy in the 1950s and hearing his mother, aunt, and uncle discussing Governor Collins. While he was too young to understand the specifics of their conversation, he remembers that their tone was always hopeful when referring to the Governor, who was the first leader of a Southern state to voice support for de-segregation and civil rights.

“As I grew older, I learned more about the Governor and what he actually did, and it was so special and separate from the main thought of the day,” Oglesby said.  “He was a very courageous man, and he went out on the plank for his beliefs. We would be fortunate if others would adopt that frame of mind and just say ‘I’m going to do what’s best for the state and the nation, and to hell with political labels’. When you compare that kind of integrity with what we see too often today where it’s all about self and ideology, you can appreciate how special he was.”

A lifetime public servant himself, Stierheim says that associating the Collins name with ethical values carries special meaning, and that the student essays will only perpetuate his great name and establish a living legacy – all under the guidance of the Academy’s Director and Palm Beach County Ethics Commissioner, Peter Cruise.

“It was my grandfather’s steadfast conviction with respect for others and a moral courage guided by the truth and by his conscience that helped define his leadership,” said LeRoy Collins III, Governor Collins’s grandson and Collins Center board member.

“He once said, ‘Government cannot live by taxes alone, or by jobs alone, or even by roads alone… Government must have qualities of the spirit. Without these qualities, there is no worthwhile leadership, and we grapple and grope in a moral wilderness.’ That is never more appropriate than today, and can only be accomplished by supporting, inspiring, and training our youth. FAU is a worthy partner for that endeavor, and I’m excited for all they will accomplish,” Collins said.


Looking Forward

All voting members of the Collins board are confident that Cruise and his team have built a plan that will work well into the future. Stierheim, Oglesby, and Collins will serve as Advisory Board members for the academy, beginning in Fall 2018.

“My grandfather was very focused on training future leaders with a strength of character,” Collins said. “Doing what was right was more important than doing what was popular. We need leaders with a vision and sense of purpose to tackle the problems we, as Floridians, face in today’s modern world. He would be pleased that his legacy is being perpetuated at FAU.”

The Academy is honored to have also received a $10,000 donation from The Eric Friedheim Foundation and a $50,000 pledge from an anonymous donor.

“Long after I am gone, the LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy will still be going strong, and Governor Collins would be very pleased,” Stierheim said. “It’s a beautiful legacy to have – honesty, integrity, and ethical conduct. You couldn’t ask for more.”

Introducing Our New Associate Dean for Research

The College for Design and Social Inquiry (CDSI) is pleased to announce the hiring of Wendy Guastaferro, Ph.D., as our new Associate Dean for Research. Dr. Guastaferro brings considerable external funding experience to her role, and she will serve as an important support resource for faculty throughout each phase of the research grant writing, application, and review process.

Dean Wesley Hawkins has assigned Dr. Guastaferro three key targets to focus on during the 2018-2019 academic year:

  1. Increase the number of faculty research proposal submissions.
  2. Increase the number of proposals that are successfully funded.
  3. Broaden awareness of CDSI research endeavors among University administration, donors and potential donors, and the community at large.

Under Dr. Guastaferro’s leadership, CDSI is building a research strategic team within the Dean’s Office to identify ways to address these specific targets. CDSI looks forward to working with the broader FAU community so, together, we can become the country’s fastest-improving public research university.

To contact Dr. Guastaferro, please call (561) 297-0428 or email her at

FAU Receives Endowment to Name LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy

BOCA RATON, Fla. (August 23, 2018) – Florida Atlantic University’s Public Ethics Academy within the School of Public Administration in the College for Design and Social Inquiry recently received a $475,000 endowment from the LeRoy Collins Legacy Group, Inc. to name the LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy in honor of former Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins.

“It was my grandfather’s steadfast conviction with respect for others and a moral courage guided by the truth and by his conscience that helped him define his leadership,” said LeRoy Collins III, Collins Center board member. “FAU is a worthy partner and I am excited to see all that the Academy will accomplish.”

In addition to naming the Public Ethics Academy, a portion of the endowment will be used to fund two student scholarships each year.

The Academy, first organized by FAU in 2009, was re-launched in 2017 and Peter Cruise, Ph.D., was named its executive director. The University-based nature of the Academy, housed at FAU’s Boca Raton campus, allows for the rapid incorporation and dissemination of the latest scholarly research on ethics issues by noted faculty for the Academy’s training programs.

“The Academy’s research and training programs will promote and inform the principles Gov. Collins stood for and believed in,” said Wesley Hawkins, Ph.D., dean of the College for Design and Social Inquiry. “This generous endowment will impact students for years to come and expand the Academy’s programs and services throughout the University.”

The Academy’s objectives are to increase understanding of local government and how it functions, promote high ethical standards in public service, provide an informational base for more informed policy making and develop the capacity of local officials to govern effectively.

“As one example of FAU President John Kelly’s vision of significant community engagement, the wonderful public service legacy of Gov. LeRoy Collins will continue at FAU through the Public Ethics Academy that now bears his name,” Cruise said.

For more information on the LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy at FAU, visit

Professor Shares Research Findings with Federal Commission on School Safety

Dr. Sameer Hinduja, Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking research on the impact of the virtual world and social media on violence and student safety.  He recently shared his expertise with the Federal Commission on School Safety headed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C.

The Cyber & Classroom Connection

Hinduja kicked off the meeting by sharing findings that there is significant overlap between students who experience cyberbullying online and those who experience bullying at school.

“In our most recent study of a nationally-representative sample of approximately 5,700 middle and high-school students across America, 34% say that they have been cyber-bullied during their lifetime,” Hinduja said. “In addition, 12% revealed that they had cyberbullied others during their lifetime. So that’s one-third of youth across America indicating they’ve been bullied online, and about one in ten stating they have bullied others online. We also know that more than 80% of those being cyberbullied are also being bullied at school, indicating a strong overlap.”

Four Recommendations for Long-Term Change

After sharing that the ad-hoc strategies schools often employ are lacking in terms of lasting impact, Hinduja shared his four recommendations to the Federal Government for comprehensive and systemic change:

  1. Create a positive school climate of connectedness.
  2. Modify social norms to reward responsible social media behavior.
  3. Tap into students’ knowledge to help set achievable standards.
  4. Implement resilience programming for empowerment.

In closing, Dr. Hinduja recommended that the Federal Government provide more personnel and funding to schools, add funding for research to make sure initiatives are optimized, seek better ways to get best practices into the hands of those who need them, and finally, promote accountability at the school, state, and federal levels.

“This will help ensure that adequate resources are provided so that our students can thrive, and our communities can flourish,” Hinduja said.


Click below to watch Dr. Hinduja make his recommendations to the Federal Commission on School Safety.

SCCJ Faculty: By the Numbers

Did you know? The FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty have published more than 25 books, made more than 500 presentations at conferences around the world, published more than 300 journal articles and book chapters, and received more than $8.2 million in sponsored research funding from agencies, including:


  • The Florida Department of Corrections
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services federal flow through
  • The Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission flow through from the MacArthur Foundation
  • The National Institute of Justice federal flow through
  • The GEO Group

Keep up the great work!

LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy Receives Stierheim Video Archives

FAU’s LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy is privileged to host the following video archives featuring Merrett R. Stierheim, now in his sixth decade of public service with such former roles as City of Miami Manager, Miami-Dade County Manager, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent, Manager of Miami-Lakes and Doral, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, and many more.

“Through the generosity of the Stierheim family and the work by Mayco Villafana, the PEA can now share these wonderful memories of the career and life of Mr. Good Government: Merrett Stierheim,” said Peter Cruise, Director of the FAU Public Ethics Academy and Palm Beach County Ethics Commissioner.

Visit our “About Merrett R. Stierheim” page to learn more about his life and legacy, and to view the video archives.

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