CHSE Awards Three Dean's Circle Grants


June 10, 2020

BATON ROUGE–Thanks to grants from the Peabody Society's Dean Circle, the College of Human Sciences & Education has provided seed funding for three new faculty projects that involve research on issues that examine the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the community.

"This research will be conducted in Louisiana," says CHSE Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies Arend W.A. Van Gemmert, PhD. "But, it has the potential to help people and communities across the globe, who are also dealing with the implications of the pandemic."

Supported by philanthropic gifts, the Peabody Dean’s Circle invests in projects that address the socially significant problems faced by our state and our nation. Traditionally, Dean’s Circle grants support faculty research, new programs, outreach efforts, guest lecturers, conferences, scholarships and alumni events.

This year, the Peabody Society has chosen to support the following pilot programs: 

Examining the Efficacy of a Worksite Yoga Intervention to Improve Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Among Firefighters

Principal investigator: Roy Paul Daniels Professor and Director of LSU School of Kinesiology's Melinda Solmon, PhD
Collaborators: LSU School of Education's Gary Ginter, PhD; Stephanie Eberts, PhD, and graduate student Amanda Weathers-Myers 
Description: Since firefighters routinely experience traumatic events in the line of duty, they are at increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress symptomatology (PTSS).

Recently, the high volume of medical COVID calls, fear of infection, lack of personal equipment, and immense amount of time spent away family have amplified those stressors. At the same time, the stigma associated with seeking treatment and other obstacles frequently prevent firefighters from seeking mental health services.

This study examines an interdisciplinary approach to improving firefighter PTSS. A better understanding of alternative approaches may translate to better developed treatment plans for firefighters and increase the likelihood they get help and follow through with treatment.

Neighborhood Assessment for Closing the Homework Gap: Providing Mobile Homework Help and Wifi for East Baton Rouge Parish's Underserved and Homeless Children and Teens

Principal Investigator: LSU School of Social Work's Elaine Maccio, PhD, LCSW
Collaborator:  LSU School of Library Science & Information's Suzanne Stauffer, PhD
Description: According to a 2018 Pew Research Center study, nearly 20% of American students are unable to complete their homework because they lack internet access. Consequently, they fall behind in school.

To bridge the “homework gap” between students with internet access at home and those who do not, this initiative creates an expansion of the public library resources to include outreach to children and teens in Baton Rouge’s poorest neighborhoods.

The cornerstone of the project is sending bookmobiles to selected sites in these neighborhoods, including homeless shelters that shelter children and teens, to provide onsite homework help and information literacy instruction.

Staffed by a children’s and teen librarian, the bookmobile includes a collection of homework-relevant materials, laptops, mobile Wifi hotspots and other materials. Since the 2020-2021 school schedule remains uncertain, this project has the potential of providing children a tool they need to succeed if homeschooling becomes widespread again due to a COVID resurgence. 

When Senior Year is Canceled: Assessing Resilience and Meaning Making Among High School Seniors of the Class of 2020

Principal Investigator: LSU School of Social Work's Hannah Plauche, PhD
Collaborators: LSU School of Social Work's James Canfield, PhD, and graduate student Tiffany Doerr
Description: Because the Bayou State frequently experiences natural and weather-related disasters, Louisiana students often experience academic disruptions. The purpose of this research is to identify common threads of resilience and meaning making among high school seniors in the graduating Class of 2020.

The project will examine not only the logistical challenges and solutions to meeting academic needs but also the meaning of these disruptions for students, parents and teachers.

High school graduation often marks the end of adolescence and the beginning of emerging adulthood. So, incoming freshmen may have specific challenges associated with both the academic disruption and the unique experiences related to the end of senior year. These challenges may become issues and concerns that have not been experienced by previous freshmen classes. Identifying these challenges will help the university meet their specific needs.

About CHSE
The College of Human Sciences & Education, or CHSE, is a nationally accredited division of LSU. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer eight undergraduate degree programs, 20 graduate programs and seven online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,795 undergraduate and 1,935 graduate students. The college is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

For more information, contact:
Adrian Hirsch
LSU College of Human Sciences & Education

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