Aaron N. Oforlea, an associate professor in the English department at Washington State University, has won the Creative Scholarship Award from the College Language Association for his debut book, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and the Rhetorics of Black Male Subjectivity(Ohio State University Press, 2017). The international honor recognizes excellence in literary criticism.
According to Dr. Oforlea, he got inspiration for his book came from his interest in “how African American men achieve their dreams and goals despite racism.” His work examines two of his favorite authors and analyzes their respective African American characters and how they navigated their challenges. Upon receiving the award, he stated, “To win the award, I think for me it’s validation that I’m on the right track, that my work is making an impact in the field.”
Professor Oforlea is the only African American in his department and the only African American literature scholar at Washington State University. He has taught at the university since 2007 and was promoted to associate professor in 2013. Prior to coming to Washington State, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of English at Santa Clara University in California.
Dr. Oforlea holds a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature/letters from California State University, Chico and a Ph.D. in English language and literature/letters from Ohio State University.
Michael V. Drake, the 15th president of Ohio State University and the first African American to hold that post, was elected vice chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Universities. He will serve one year as vice chair and then become chair of the board in 2017.
The Association of American Universities is composed of 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. It advocates on issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, graduate and undergraduate education, and campus life.
“Our participation in national higher education organizations gives Ohio State a unique opportunity to help set the course for solving the most important higher education issues of the day,” said President Drake. He also serves as chair of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Dr. Drake became president of Ohio State University in June 2014. From 2005 to 2014, he was chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. Earlier, he was the director of education and research for the 15 health science schools of the University of California System.
Michelle Alexander, a visiting professor at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a senior fellow at the Ford Foundation, has been chosen to receive the Heinz Award in the public policy category. The awards were established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz from Pennsylvania, an heir to the Heinz Ketchup fortune. The Heinz Award comes with a $250,000 prize.
According to the award committee, Professor Alexander is being honored “for her work in drawing national attention to the issues of mass incarceration of African American youth and men in the United States, and for igniting a movement that is inspiring organizations and individuals to take constructive action on criminal justice reform.” She is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2010).
Dr. Christian Head, a surgeon at UCLA‘s medical school, will receive $4.5 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents, the university system announced Thursday. The agreement settles the lawsuit, filed in April, that accused the university of failing to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation against Head. The head and neck surgeon alleged that he was retaliated against for filing complaints through normal channels and was denied teaching opportunities.
Head, 51, also alleged that he was routinely publicly humiliated and once was depicted as a gorilla being sodomized in a slide show presentation during a resident graduation event. “The case presented difficult issues of alleged discrimination and retaliation that were strongly contested,” the university said in a statement. “…The matter was settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.” The regents approved the settlement in a closed-session meeting in San Francisco on Thursday.
During a 2006 event for faculty, staff and graduating medical school residents, a slide show created by the residents — and typically reviewed by staff — included a photo in which Head’s face was superimposed on a gorilla that was being sodomized by a department chairman, according to the complaint. Without admitting fault or liability, the university acknowledged that “an inappropriate slide was shown” and regrets the incident, the statement said.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A year to the day after kicking off his victorious re-election campaign on this college campus, President Barack Obama returned to Ohio State University and told graduates that only through vigorous participation in their democracy can they right a poorly functioning government and break through relentless cynicism about the nation’s future.
“I dare you, Class of 2013, to do better. I dare you to dream bigger,” Obama said.
In a sunbaked stadium filled with more than 57,000 students, friends and relatives, Obama lamented an American political system that gets consumed by “small things” and works for the benefit of society’s elite. He called graduates to duty to “accomplish great things,” like rebuilding a still-feeble economy and fighting poverty and climate change.
“Only you can ultimately break that cycle. Only you can make sure the democracy you inherit is as good as we know it can be,” Obama told more than 10,000 cap-and-gown-clad graduates gathered for the rite of passage. “But it requires your dedicated, informed and engaged citizenship.”
The visit to Ohio State — the first of three commencement addresses Obama will give this season — was a homecoming of sorts for Obama, who has visited the campus five times over little more than a year, starting with his first official campaign rally here last May. He made many more stops elsewhere in Ohio as he and Republican Mitt Romney dueled for the Midwestern state which was pivotal to Obama’s victories in both 2008 and 2012.