Fordham Notes

Monday, October 20, 2014

Faculty Reads: Advertising to Children

When it comes to advertising tactics, it’s challenging enough for adults to spot the schemes and resist buying into sales pitches. Do the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society even stand a chance?

That question is at the heart of Dr. Fran Blumberg’s newly-published Advertising to Children: New Directions, New Media (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2014), which was co-edited by Drs. Barrie Gunter (University of Leicester, U.K.), Mark Blades, and Caroline Oates (both University of Sheffield, U.K.).

“Vulnerable audiences, such as kids, may not be aware that they are being subjected to advertising,” said Blumberg, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education. “[It’s now] another aspect of the child's environment that they are increasingly exposed to which probably requires their understanding of the goal of marketers — that is, that they want you to buy their product and may make false claims or present unrealistic imagery associated with their product to make it desirable.”

Because of this increased exposure, especially to new “stealth techniques” that target youth, there is an urgent need to study how advertising affects development, Blumberg said. And yet, despite this growing need, there is a dearth of information about the impact of new-age advertising on kids.

“The goal of the text is to understand the factors that contribute to children’s understanding of advertising, and elucidate at which point in [their growth] that [they develop an] understanding of advertising messages,” she said.

The book covers an array of topics surrounding children and advertising, including how children are affected by advertising for food and alcohol products, whether children are developmentally capable of identifying messages as persuasive, and what parents and educators can do to teach kids to become more critical of advertisements.

The book also discusses the ramifications of “stealth advertising,” such as embedded commercial messages in television shows and new forms of media that influence children without their conscious awareness. An example of the latter is the practice of “advergaming,” or the use video games to promote products or services — for instance, a cereal company that makes a game involving collecting pieces of the cereal for points.

“The message [in the book] is that children and adolescents… may be best served through media literacy, which includes understanding the persuasive intent of advertising and advertisers,” Blumberg said.

— Joanna K. Mercuri

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Nostradamus of Marketing Comes to Fordham

Next week Fordham University’s Center for Positive Marketing will host a discussion with Faith Popcorn, “the Nostradamus of marketing.”

Popcorn, a best-selling author and "futurist," will share her predictions about a future shaped by the intersection of personal technologies, changing family composition, and data security.

“Flying into the Future with Faith Popcorn”
Wednesday, Oct. 22
6:30 p.m.
Room 3-03 | Fordham School of Law
150 West 62nd Street

Popcorn is the founder of the BrainReserve, a New York-based, future-focused marketing consultancy. She has successfully predicted social trends such as “cocooning,” forecasting the explosive growth of home delivery, home businesses, and home shopping.

She is the consultant for Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Campbell’s Soup, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Tylenol, and the United States Postal Service. She is also the author of several books, such as EVEolution: Understanding Women (Hyperion, 2001) and Dictionary of the Future (Hyperion, 2001).

Click here to reserve your seat.

For more information, contact Linda Purcell.

The event is sponsored by the Center for Positive Marketing, which unites industry professionals, academic researchers, and students for the goal of promoting the positive differences marketing can make in people’s lives.

— Joanna K. Mercuri

In Wake of ISIS, Former UN Ambassador Helps Iraqi Nonprofits Take a Leading Role

Ambassador T. Hamid al-Bayati
Photo by Tom Stoelker
T. Hamid al-Bayati, Ph.D., the former permanent representative of Iraq to the United Nations, came to Fordham's Lincoln Center campus on Oct. 16 to respond to increasing violence in Iraq and Syria. The ambassador told a crowd of nonprofit leaders that their work is an important response for the war-torn region.

The event was sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Service and the Graduate School of Business Administration.

Al-Bayati, author of From Dictatorship to Democracy: An Insider's Account of the Iraqi Opposition to Saddam (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011) said that supplementing coalition forces with on-the-ground aid is essential for the people of Iraq to survive the effects of war. With more than four million refugees in the country, funding and coordination of the various NGOs is a must. To that end, the ambassador said he will be working with Fordham’s Center for Nonprofit Leaders to coordinate New York-area nonprofits and link them with their Iraqi counterparts.

The ambassador said that, with recent killings of aid workers by ISIS, it is best to let the Iraqi nonprofits take the lead rather than sending in foreign aid workers who might find themselves vulnerable to attack.

“Many are worried about WMDs (weapons of mass destruction), but you know what WMDs are now? A cell phone and an app,” he said, referring to readily available technology that has allowed recent beheadings by ISIS to terrorize Americans and other Western nationals in the privacy of their own homes.

Al-Bayati said that the consortium of NGOs in Iraq would allow donors to pick which nonprofit they would like to help. The NGO would in turn be responsible for reporting back to the donor with progress. He added that the Iraqi NGOs could also help bring businesses into the country as well.

The ambassador continually stressed the importance of coordination. He said that the United Nations still lacks the enough experience to coordinate NGOs, and they have their own bureaucracy to contend with.

“Communication is not the issue. Technology has solved that, but security remains number one,” he said. “By organizing our efforts, the NGOs can complete each other rather than compete with each other.”
-Tom Stoelker 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Graduate School of Religion Dean to Present Integrative Seminar

Next week, Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education will present the next installation of its new series, the Vineyard Workers’ Workshops.

“God, Christ, the Church, and Salvation”
Friday, Oct. 17
10 a.m.
Fordham Westchester Campus

C. Colt Anderson, Ph.D., dean of GRE and an expert in church history, will discuss how an understanding of the Nicene Creed and other essential doctrines relate to spiritual life and practice.

The workshop is part of an ongoing series that serve people working in religious education, ministry, and pastoral counseling. Part online and part on-campus, the workshop series integrates study and practice in the fields of ministry and pastoral care.

Topics include gender issues in ministry, interfaith concerns in ministry, moral theology and social justice, intercultural communication, and more. Periodically, workshops will also cover contemporary issues and developments in pastoral counseling.

Workshops include CEU credits through the National Association of Lay ministry.

Visit the GRE website for more information about the workshop.

— Joanna K. Mercuri

Monday, October 6, 2014

Alumni Spotlight: Investment Adviser Hires, Inspires Fordham Interns

Jerry Getsos (center) with current and former interns (from l.) Alexander Milo,
a Fordham junior; Michael Manzo, GSB '00; and Michael Watts, a Fordham senior.
Photo: Dana Maxson

Jerry Getsos started hiring Fordham interns 17 years ago, not simply to help his company or because he knew how valuable Fordham students are in the workplace.

He started hiring Fordham students because he wanted to give back to his alma mater.

“I remember how tough it was for me to crack into the investment business,” Getsos says. “I decided this would be something I can give back to the school in my way.”

A son of Greek immigrants and a first-generation college student, Getsos earned a B.S. in finance and economics from Fordham in 1985, and an M.B.A. from the University in 1987. Today he’s a member of the Fordham parents community; his daughter Julia is a Fordham junior, while his son Peter is a freshman at the University.

Getsos started the internship program while working as the chief investment officer at Lepercq, de Neuflize & Co., and he continues it in his role as director of research and senior vice president at Klingenstein, Fields & Co., where he has worked since 2006.

He says because he has worked for small to mid-sized firms, he has had the opportunity to teach interns about all aspects of the investment business.

“When an analyst is working on something, the intern works right alongside him or her. Interns sit with us when we’re interviewing CEOs and CFOs,” he says. “They’re actually doing models for me, where other students may just be doing models in a classroom.”

Getsos is clear with interns that although there will not be a job at his firm for them after graduation, his primary goal is to give them the experience they need to build a rewarding career on Wall Street.

Michael Manzo, GSB ’00, interned for Getsos for two years as a Fordham undergraduate. After graduation, JP Morgan hired him as an equity research analyst, an opportunity for which he credits Getsos.

“I was the first equity research analyst from Fordham that JP Morgan had hired right out of school, and that was entirely due to Jerry and the experience I gained working with him,” Manzo says.

“The people I was hired with went to Georgetown, Brown, Wharton, and other ‘bigger’ schools. But nobody had the internship that I’d had, with that true asset management experience.”

While the work experience is immensely valuable, Getsos’ interns say that it is their boss himself who truly sets the internship apart.

Michael Watts, a Gabelli School senior who interned for Getsos in the summer of 2013, was struck not only by Getsos’ knowledge and natural ability to share his expertise but also by his character.

“Jerry’s an incredible teacher, extremely patient with college kids who are just striving to get their footing in the field,” Watts says. “He’s full of energy and passion for what he does. You want to work hard for Jerry.”

Getsos has lunch with his interns nearly every day, serving as a mentor not only on career opportunities and investment strategies but also on life and family.

“I’d love to be as good an investor as Jerry, but I’d be happy to be as good a person as he is,” Watts says. “Jerry is the quintessential Fordham man.”

Getsos does not seek interns with previous investment experience. He’s looking to find students who are hungry to learn about the field.

“They are raw in the beginning, but as typical Fordham students, they’re hard working, they show up, and they have a strong ability to learn,” he says.

Getsos’ commitment to opening doors to the investment business for Fordham students has inspired others to do the same.

Manzo currently works as an adjunct professor at Fordham. He says he has made it a priority to connect with students the way Getsos connected with him, making time to talk with students before or after class and offer advice on job opportunities.

“I have been directly or indirectly responsible for getting people jobs, and that’s something I am proud of,” Manzo says.

It’s that type of investment in the future of Fordham students that Getsos says inspires him to continue pouring time and energy into teaching his interns the ropes.

“There’s a rewarding feeling I get, when they’re still interning with me and about to graduate, and get that job at JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs,” he says. “That’s why I do it.”

—Jennifer Spencer

Fordham Faculty in the Field: Serving Bilingual Education Classrooms

Diane Rodriguez

The High School for Health Careers and Sciences in the Washington Heights section of New York City offers students the opportunity to learn in their native language.

Diane Rodriguez, Ph.D., associate professor at Fordham’s Graduate School of Education (GSE), researches bilingual education, and in this video, she observes a class in action at the northern Manhattan school. In the video, she says that programs like this affirm the diversity of the students, develop critical thinking skills in two languages, manifest a positive classroom environment, and foster inclusion and participation of all students.

The high school’s Transitional Bilingual Program provides students with instruction in their native language in order to ensure students don’t fall behind in content areas while learning English.

“When schools promote the development of bilingual students’ first language,” says Rodriguez, “students tend to experience academic success.”

Watch the entire video below, and for more on multilingual education programs at GSE, visit the Fordham website.

-Rachel Roman

In the Media: Fordham's Alexander van Tulleken stresses humanity in U.S. ebola case

The IIHA's Alexander van Tulleken M.D.
Whether through its International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance for those already in the field, or its undergraduate or master’s degree program for those who hope to work in the field, the goal of Fordham’s Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs is a serious one.

The institute aims to “educate a humanitarian workforce that will break the pattern of familiar mistakes,” such as paternalism, marginalization, or a top-down manner of doing things that hinders rather than helps.

In 2010, IIHA’s founding director, Kevin Cahill, M.D., a tropical disease expert and veteran of humanitarian missions in 60 countries, told FORDHAM magazine that establishing professional standards is crucial because without sufficient training, relief workers might unintentionally prolong a conflict or inflame local tensions. Rushing in with nothing more than compassion and good intentions, humanitarian workers will almost certainly repeat the same destabilizing mistakes as their predecessors, Cahill said.

In recent days, the public has seen the IIHA’s pedagogy in practice through Alexander van Tulleken, M.D., IIHA's Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow. who has been a mainstay in the media during the current Ebola epidemic. Van Tulleken has done countless interviews since the news about the ebola epidemic caught fire in the Western media, and more so when the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States on Sept. 30. 

On Oct. 3, when CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield asked van Tulleken about the four people close to the Texas man diagnosed with Ebola, who are now being forcibly quarantined in a Dallas apartment, he espoused the Jesuit value of homines pro aliis (men and women for others):

“You get a sense of the lack of humanity at the way they’re treating this family. You feel it’s not a nice way of dealing with it,” van Tulleken said. “You want to is make it easy for that family. They need someone bringing them food, they need someone bringing them linen. They need a task force of people making it easy for them to stay at home.

“The reason I say it’s sinister when you hear about the legal enforcement [is because] when that’s the main tool, that isn’t going to work for large numbers of people, and that’s what worries me.”

Van Tulleken also appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. (Watch here.)

Follow Fordham’s YouTube account to keep up with his media appearances. And learn more about the IIHA here.

-Gina Vergel

Our Daily Bread Takes First Place in Williamsburg Film Festival

A documentary film on the city's faith-based emergency food programs, created by Fordham's Beck Institute on Religion and Poverty, has taken first place in the short documentary category at the Williamsburg International Film Festival, which ran from Sept. 18 to 21. 

The 2013 film, Our Daily Bread: Feeding the Hungry in New York City, was directed by Dale Lindquist, L.C.S.W., D.Min., co-director of the Beck institute and a professor in the Graduate School of Social Service. The 45-minute documentary profiles three emergency food programs in New York City, all organized and run by churches and their affiliates.

In an interview, Lindquist said that many people do not realize just how much the faith community does to help the poor.

"From large programs in dedicated buildings to very modest programs running out of basements in churches, synagogues and mosques, there are incredible stories," he said.

Lindquist, a former documentary filmmaker, also runs Fordham's online master's in social work program.

To see a trailer of the documentary, visit the link:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Faculty Reads: Charting Hegel’s Philosophy

German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) is one of the discipline’s most influential thinkers. Unfortunately, his comprehensive, systematic philosophy is so complex that some contemporary philosophers never fully grasp it.

Thankfully, Fordham professor Michael Baur, Ph.D. has helped to make Hegel’s worldview more accessible. G.W.F. Hegel: Key Concepts (Routledge, 2014), which Baur edited, provides an introduction to both Hegel’s thought and the later philosophical movements that Hegel inspired.

“Hegel was a very comprehensive and systematic thinker, [so] in order to grasp the full meaning of any particular part within Hegel’s system, it is necessary to appreciate the context of the whole,” writes Baur, an associate professor of philosophy and adjunct professor at Fordham Law.

“[In addition,] Hegel developed his innovative and systematic philosophy in continuous dialogue with his own contemporaries. Thus, in order to understand Hegel, it is necessary also to understand the historical context within which, and in response to which, Hegel was developing his own philosophical views.”

The book is divided into two parts. First, it covers the main philosophical themes Hegel addresses, namely, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethical theory, political philosophy, philosophy of nature, philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of history.

The second section deals with post-Hegelian movements in philosophy, including Marxism, existentialism, pragmatism, analytic philosophy, hermeneutics, and French post-structuralism.

G.W.F. Hegel his the shelves this week. Click here to read the publisher's synopsis of the book.

— Joanna K. Mercuri

Thursday, October 2, 2014

One Wrongly Accused Speaks on the Challenge of False Confessions

Jeffrey Deskovic, executive director of  the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, was just 16 years old when his friend Angela was found murdered on Nov. 17, 1989 in upstate New York. In all of the disturbance surrounding the event, Deskovic said he was lured into a false confession by zealous police officers under pressure of a polygraph test, and the teenager ended serving several years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit.

Deskovic addressed his ordeal to more than 100 students, administrators, and faculty at a Sept. 26 Fordham Law-Psychology seminar at the Lincoln Center campus, co-sponsored by Psi Chi, SPSSI-NY and the Manhattan Psychological Association. The seminar was part of a Law & Psychology course being given by Harold Takooshian, Ph.D., professor of psychology.

Deskovic said his repeated appeals were all denied, including the a U.S. Supreme Court appeal in 2001. The Innocence Project at first rejected him, too, until investigator Claudia Whitman intervened, and he was fully exonerated in 2008 with a simple DNA test that identified the true killer of his friend.

Since then, Deskovic has used a $1.5-million compensation to launch his foundation, which works to free other innocents in prison and to help correct the legal system. The foundation works with the Innocence Project to advocate dozens of important reforms, including: videotaping of all confessions, preservation of DNA evidence, limiting incentivized witnesses, requiring corroboration for informants, and punishment of prosecutorial misconduct.

The forum also featured Robert Emmons, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, forensic psychologist Ann Winton, and attorney-psychologist Cory H. Morris. 

Jeffrey Deskovic (Photo: Harold Takooshian)