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:
- Create a positive school climate of connectedness.
- Modify social norms to reward responsible social media behavior.
- Tap into students’ knowledge to help set achievable standards.
- 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.
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.
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.”
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!
U.S. News & World Report awards top universities in their annual list of “Best Colleges Rankings”, which spans nearly 50 categories students can reference when making their college selection.
We are proud to announce that Florida Atlantic University’s School of Public Administration in the College for Design and Social Inquiry just earned a coveted spot. We were named one of the Best Graduate Schools in Public Affairs for 2018 by U.S. News & World Report.
Congratulations to Dr. Lincoln Sloas, Assistant Professor in the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, for being named the 2018 FAU Faculty Mentor of the Year – a completely student-nominated and student-elected award through FAU’s Mentoring Project.
College often means new experiences, responsibilities, demands, and decisions. For many students, it’s not always easy to navigate their new world and balance challenging course loads. Mentorship can make all the difference in a student’s success.
“Having someone to talk about classes, but also life in general, is very important,” Sloas said. “Sometimes students don’t have that outlet, so having someone like me can help them progress in their college career and in their life. I find great value in taking stock in students’ lives at FAU and post-graduation, and then keeping track so I can watch their careers flourish.”
Ms. Hanna Cedillo, a second-semester freshman, was named Mentee of the Year. Cedillo and Sloas have been working together as mentor and mentee throughout the 2017-18 academic year.
“His mentees know he bends over backwards to provide them with information, opportunities, and resources,” said Dr. John Smykla, School Director and Professor. “He also encourages them to produce quality work, and he does it with humility. Dr. Sloas is open to learning from students, rather than always looking for opportunities to advance his own work, and his award is well-deserved.”
Florida Atlantic University today announced a $7 million gift from longtime benefactors Phyllis and Harvey Sandler to name The Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within the College for Design and Social Inquiry.
“I am extremely passionate about improving the well-being of all, especially the lives of the students and faculty at Florida Atlantic University,” said Phyllis Sandler.
The gift also will establish two new Centers within The Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work – the Robin Rubin Mindfulness and Wellness Center and the Substance Misuse, Mental Health and Research Center. A portion of the gift will go toward renovations to the College for Design and Social Inquiry.
“We are extremely grateful to Phyllis and Harvey Sandler for this transformational gift,” said FAU President John Kelly. “The Sandlers understand that social work plays a major role in America’s mental health and social services. Their generosity will help grow our program in remarkable ways and support some of the best and brightest students in the field.”
FAU began its relationship with the Sandler family more than 10 years ago when Phyllis and Harvey’s daughters, Robin Rubin and Amy Ross, decided to go back to school to earn their degrees in social work. Both graduated with honors, and Rubin went on to earn her master’s degree, teach part-time at FAU’s School of Social Work, as well as assemble the School’s first Social Work Community Advisory Board.
“This gift will give for generations to come,” said Wesley Hawkins, Ph.D., dean of the College for Design and Social Inquiry. “Because of the enormous generosity of Phyllis and Harvey Sandler, social work students and faculty can now more fully address the social issues that have plagued our society for centuries – substance misuse, child abuse, health care, suicide, depression – the list goes on and on. The impact and ripple effect of this gift is enormous for helping those in need in our communities for years to come. I am thrilled and very grateful to now call our school: the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work.”
For the past five years, the FAU School of Social Work’s Community Advisory Board, populated by some of Boca Raton’s most prominent community leaders, has highlighted the importance of the social work program at FAU and its impact on the local community. Because of this, FAU’s Phyllis Sandler Heart of Social Work annual fundraiser was created for the social work program and its students.
“It feels so good to give back,” said Harvey Sandler. “It’s important to make investments in your community and take pride in where you live.”
Phyllis and Harvey Sandler have a long history of philanthropic efforts in the community. Together they have named the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Pavilion at the Lynn Cancer Center and The Phyllis Sandler Center for Living Well at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital. They also named and endowed The Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Center for Jewish Life Enhancement at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center. The Sandlers are also one of the largest contributors to the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and created the organization’s Sandler Family Major Gifts annual event.
“Naming the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work reflects the incredible generosity of the Sandler family and their commitment to making an impact in the lives of thousands of people,” said Naelys Luna, Ph.D., director of FAU’s School of Social Work. “This is an unprecedented gift that will allow us to develop and fund programs, scholarships and research placing our school as a national leader in social work. This gift will also provide the foundation for continuous academic excellence and remarkable growth preparing some of the most dedicated and committed social work students.”
Because of the Sandler family’s close relationship with Barbara and Dick Schmidt, an additional gift of $250,000 will be given to name the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Student Athlete Lounge within the Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence. The Complex will play a central role in elevating FAU’s academic standing and will benefit students in all academic programs, including those not associated with athletic programs.
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