George Holden

Three years of ‘educational diplomacy’ between SMU and Pakistan culminate in 2015 Islamabad conference

Workshop participants at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University

Participants in a workshop at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University. (Photo courtesy of thePeshawar.com)

Two professors and a clinical graduate student from SMU’s Department of Psychology will travel halfway around the world to help the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU) of Peshawar, Pakistan, host an international psychology conference in Islamabad on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015.

The conference, “Advancing Women Issues: Local and Global Directions,” will feature 55 speakers and 400 participants from across the region. It’s the culminating effort of a three-year partnership between SMU and SBBWU supported by a $1.2 million U.S. State Department grant.

“I look at it as educational diplomacy,” says SMU Psychology Department Chair George Holden. “The U.S. State Department wanted to do something to help relations between the countries and recognized the need to help Pakistan develop its educational system so the Pakistanis can better improve their country.”

At the conference, Holden will present the SMU and SBBWU’s joint research on trauma in Peshawar, where the threat of a terrorist’s bomb is never far from mind. During a Friday, Dec. 11 workshop, SMU psychology professor Lorelei Rowe and graduate student Rose Ashraf will present the latest version of Rowe’s popular psychological assessment tool, SCID-5, which helps doctors diagnose their patients through an interview-like examination process.

Other presenters will focus on topics such as promoting the well-being of women and children in Pakistan and the impact of Nepal’s earthquake on Nepalese women and children.

The SMU-SBBWU partnership is one of 20 funded by the State Department. All 20 partnerships connect American universities with universities in Pakistan or Afghanistan. SMU’s grant also brought SBBWU students and faculty to SMU, where they interacted with SMU students and faculty in an exchange of ideas and education.

— Kenny Ryan

SMU Prof. George Holden to speak at congressional briefing on corporal punishment in public schools Nov. 18, 2015

George Holden, SMU Professor of Psychology

George Holden, SMU Professor of Psychology

SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden will speak before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18 in Washington D.C.

Holden, a leading expert on parenting, discipline and family, will participate in a panel designed to tackle the ongoing phenomena of corporal punishment in schools – which is still legal in 19 states, including Texas, though outlawed in Dallas and the state’s other metropolitan areas.

“There’s very limited research about the impact of corporal punishment in schools, but what research is available is focused on how much it’s used and to whom its used on,” Holden says. “It’s mostly used on minority students and students with disabilities.”

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from Florida, is hosting the briefing, which will be attended by congressional staffers. Hastings’ goal, says Holden, is to introduce a bill that will outlaw corporal punishment and paddling of children in schools.

Holden believes this is the second recent attempt to pass such a bill. In 2011, New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy introduced a bill called the “Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act,” which failed to make it out of committee.

The 19 states where corporal punishment in schools is still legal are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

– Kenny Ryan

Faculty in the News: Oct. 7-20, 2014

George Holden, SMU Professor of Psychology

George Holden, SMU professor of psychology

George Holden, Psychology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, was featured in The Christian Science Monitor in an article examining corporal punishment. The article appeared on Oct. 20, 2014.

Bernard Weinstein, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, published a news article regarding Canada’s recent increase in oil exports to the Star-Telegram. The article appeared Oct. 16, 2014.

Benjamin Phrampus, Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, discussed the possible relation of gas explosions and the Bermuda Triangle with LifeScience. The article appeared on Oct. 14, 2014.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, provided commentary for The New York Times in an article entitled “An Ad With a Wheelchair Shakes Up the Texas Governor’s Race.” The article appeared Oct. 13, 2014.

Bruce Bullock, Director of the Maguire Energy Institute, SMU

Bruce Bullock, director of SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute

Will Power, Theatre Artist-in-Residence, Meadows School of the Arts, received 11 AUDELCO nominations for his production Fetch Clay, Make Man. As part of the New York Theatre Workshop, Power’s production tells the story of Cassius Clay as the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship during the days leading up to one his most anticipated fights. News of Power’s nominations were features on Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on Oct. 12, 2014.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, was featured in an article in The New York Times discussing the technology of liquid gas. The article was published on Oct. 7, 2014.

Research: To spank or not to spank? SMU studies show research can change minds about corporal punishment

Some parents who spank their children believe it’s an effective form of discipline. But decades of studies have found that spanking is linked to short- and long-term child behavior problems.

Is there any way to get parents to change their minds and stop spanking? Child psychologist George Holden, a professor in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, wanted to see if parents’ positive views toward spanking could be reversed if they were made aware of the research.

Holden and three colleagues in the Department of Psychology used a simple, fast, inexpensive method to briefly expose subjects to short research summaries that detailed spanking’s negative impact. With Professor Alan Brown, Assistant Professor Austin Baldwin and graduate student Kathryn Croft Caderao, he carried out two studies: one with non-parents and one with parents. They found that attitudes were significantly altered.

“Parents spank with good intentions – they believe it will promote good behavior, and they don’t intend to harm the child. But research increasingly indicates that spanking is actually a harmful practice,” said Holden, lead author on the study. “These studies demonstrate that a brief exposure to research findings can reduce positive corporal punishment attitudes in parents and non-parents.”

The findings, “Research findings can change attitudes about corporal punishment,” have been published in the international journal Child Abuse & Neglect. The researchers believe the study is the first of its kind to find that brief exposure to spanking research can alter people’s views toward spanking. Previous studies in the field have relied on more intensive, time-consuming and costly methods to attempt to change attitudes toward spanking.

Research has found that parents who spank believe spanking can make children behave or respect them. That belief drives parental behavior, more so than their level of anger, the seriousness of the child’s misbehavior or the parent’s perceived intent of the child’s misbehavior.

In the first SMU study, the subjects were 118 non-parent college students divided into two groups: one that actively processed web-based information about spanking research; and one that passively read web summaries.

The summary consisted of several sentences describing the link between spanking and short- and long-term child behavior problems, including aggressive and delinquent acts, poor quality of parent-child relationships and an increased risk of child physical abuse.

The majority of the participants in the study, 74.6 percent, thought less favorably of spanking after reading the summary. Unexpectedly, the researchers said, attitude change was significant for both active and passive participants.

A second study replicated the first study, but with 263 parent participants, predominantly white mothers. The researchers suspected parents might be more resistant to change their attitudes. Parents already have established disciplinary practices, are more invested in their current practices and have sought advice from trusted individuals.

But the results indicated otherwise. After reading brief research statements on the web, 46.7 percent of the parents changed their attitudes and expressed less approval of spanking.

“If we can educate people about this issue of corporal punishment, these studies show that we can in a very quick way begin changing attitudes,” said Holden.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

SMU Psychology partners with Pakistani women’s university

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women’s University

(l. to r.) Javed Azam, program director at SMU; Nawal Shuaib, Ph.D. student and lecturer at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University; SMU Associate Psychology Professor Lorelei Simpson Rowe; SMU Psychology Professor George Holden, project director; Farhana Jahangir, Vice Chancellor of SBBWU; Mahwish Asmatullah, Quality Assurance at SBBWU; and Faiza Khan and Neelam Ehsan, both students and lecturers at SBBWU.

The Department of Psychology in SMU’s Dedman College, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, will work with a women’s university in Peshawar, Pakistan to strengthen that institution’s psychology studies and promote better understanding between the United States and Pakistan.

The three-year agreement between SMU and the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women’s University is scheduled to run through January 2016 and totals more than $1 million.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the Psychology Department as we form our first international partnership, and we look forward to sharing our expertise in research and clinical work to strengthen the psychology department at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University,” said George Holden, SMU psychology professor and project director.

“This grant will also allow us, through scholarly exchange visits, to develop research collaborations and learn from Pakistani colleagues.”

The partnership has five specific goals:

  • Enhancing faculty development through faculty exchange programs and distance learning courses
  • Facilitating the growth of the curriculum, teaching and research at SBBWU
  • To improve the SBBWU Psychology Clinic’s capacity to provide assessments and therapy for the people of Peshawar
  • To develop a psychology center at SBBWU that will be a resource center and sponsor an annual conference
  • To create cross-cultural research collaborations

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University was established in 2005, with a primary objective to provide quality education to female students in accordance with modern trends. Since 2012, enrollment has risen to 4,600 students in 18 different departments. In addition to rising enrollment, 16 colleges have become affiliated with the university with more than 5,000 additional registered students.

The participants from SMU consist of three psychology faculty members including George Holden, psychology professor and project director; Robert Hampson, associate professor of psychology; and Lorelei Rowe, associate professor of psychology. Javed Azam, M.B.A, MSc., is the program director.

“This grant affords our department, one that has been in existence for more than 90 years, a wonderful opportunity to share our expertise with a developing department founded less than 10 years ago,” said Holden. “In the process of helping them gain expertise in psychological education, research and counseling, we too will be enriched through our collaborations.”

Written by Christina Voss

> Read more from SMU News

SMU panel to explore the history (and future) of privacy Oct. 31, 2012

A panel of SMU faculty members from a wide range of disciplines will examine the history of and emerging ramifications for the concept of privacy in the 21st century at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center West Ballroom.

The program launches the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s IMPACT (Interdisciplinary Meetings to Address Pressing Current Themes) series of symposia. Sponsored by the Embrey Family Foundation, the symposium is free and open to the public and includes a 3 p.m. reception.

Lee Cullum, journalist and fellow in SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include SMU professors whose studies touch on some aspect of privacy:

  • George Holden is professor of psychology in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Holden specializes in developmental psychology with a focus on family violence and parent-child interactions. His current research involves analyzing home audio recordings of mothers and their preschoolers. “Psychologists are in the business of exploring people’s private lives — such as their secret thoughts and behavior behind closed doors,” Holden says. “Consequently, we are confronted with various thorny issues.”
  • Alexis McCrossen is associate professor of history in Dedman College whose specialty is U.S. social and cultural history. “Privacy is an institution that came of age in early modern Europe,” she says.
  • Beth Newman is associate professor of English and director of the Women and Gender Studies Program in Dedman College. Newman, whose specialty is 19th-century British literature, says “The concept of privacy developed alongside the rise of the novel, which reinforced its importance — especially for the middle class.”
  • Santanu Roy is professor of economics in Dedman College. Roy’s research interests are in industrial organization, natural resources and environment, international and economic growth.
  • Mary Spector is associate professor of law and director of the Consumer Law Project – both in Dedman School of Law. Spector’s research interests are in the areas of consumer credit, landlord-tenant law and clinical legal education.
  • Suku Nair is chair and professor of computer science and engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering. Nair’s research interests are in network and systems security and reliability.

The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute was made possible by a $5 million gift from the Dedman Family and the Dedman Foundation. The Institute was created to bring together faculty and students from the humanities, sciences and social sciences for collaborative research and other programs. The Institute will host annual seminars bringing together faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and members of the community to discuss global issues.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story at SMU News

Faculty in the News: March 29, 2011

SMU Professor Seyom BrownWilliam Tsutsui, Dean, Dedman College, was in Japan when the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the country. He wrote about how the Japanese people’s fascination with disaster in movies, manga, anime and video games mirrors that nation’s real-world vulnerability to catastrophe in an essay that appeared in Newsweek March 24, 2011.

Seyom Brown (right), Tower Center for Political Studies, Dedman College, discussed the current crisis in Libya with FOX 4 News March 24, 2011. Watch the Seyom Brown interview online. video

Raúl Magdaleno, Diversity and Community Engagement, Meadows School of the Arts, finished his SMU bachelor’s degree while living in a homeless shelter and caring for family members. He discussed his experiences with Bill Zeeble of KERA Public Radio March 24, 2011. Listen to Magdeleno’s KERA radio interview. audio

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College, discussed the competing views of how President Obama is handling the crisis in the Middle East with with The Canadian Press March 21, 2011. He also talked about the political ramifications of a joint appearance of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and President Obama for an article that appeared in The Christian Science Monitor March 2, 2011.

Ryszard Stroynowski, Physics, Dedman College, was featured in a story on how the legacy of North Texas’ Superconducting Super Collider has continued at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. The story was aired by WFAA Channel 8 News March 22, 2011. Watch the Stroynowski interview at the SMU Research blog. video

R. Gerald Turner, SMU president and co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, provided commentary to Bloomberg News on a report that says the NCAA should alter its payouts for the men’s basketball tournament to reward schools with higher graduation rates. The article appeared March 17, 2011.

Yolette Garcia, Assistant Dean for External Affairs and Outreach, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, provided expertise for a story on how the way words are pronounced may be changing as the state’s demographics change. The article appeared in The Texas Observer March 1, 2011.

George Holden, Psychology, Dedman College, talked about how to handle mature questions from young children, especially when they are taking a very literal approach to a concern, with columnist Tyra Damm of The Dallas Morning News Jan. 7, 2011.

Faculty in the News: March 2, 2010

Jeffrey Talley, Environmental and Civil Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, was the subject of a feature article in The Chronicle of Higher Education Feb. 28, 2010.

Renee McDonald, Ernie Jouriles and George Holden, Psychology, Dedman College, discussed what can be done to end family violence and child maltreatment on the KERA 90.1 FM program “Think” with Krys Boyd Feb. 24, 2010. Listen to the broadcast. audio

Michael CoxMichael Cox, O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, Cox School of Business, discussed President Obama’s commitment to double U.S. exports over the next five years with C-SPAN’s Washington Journal live from the SMU Public Affairs Broadcast Studio on Feb. 23, 2010. Watch the video. video

Ravi Batra, Economics, Dedman College, talked about free trade and buying American with Fox Business News live from the SMU Public Affairs Broadcast Studio on Feb. 19, 2010. Watch the video. video

Tune In: SMU psychology professors on KERA Radio Feb. 24

KERA 'Think' logoThe American Psychological Association‘s National Summit On Interpersonal Violence and Abuse takes place in Dallas Feb. 24-26, 2010. As these professionals discuss what can be done to end family violence and child maltreatment, summit participants and SMU professors Renee McDonald, Ernie Jouriles and George Holden will join Krys Boyd of KERA Radio’s “Think” for an issues roundtable.

Tune in to 90.1 FM at noon Feb. 24, or listen live through your web browser.

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 26, 2008

Sweet Honey in the RockGodbey Lecture Series: Psychology Professors George Holden and Buck Hampson join Law Lecturer Jessica Dixon, director of SMU’s W.W. Caruth Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, for a discussion of the issues involved in the FLDS Compound raid and its aftermath. “Big House on the Prairie” is scheduled for three consecutive Mondays beginning Sept. 29 at Maggiano’s in NorthPark Center. Lecture at 11 a.m., lunch at noon. Register online or call 8-2532.

Art and Soul 2008: SMU’s Perkins School of Theology hosts the Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock (right) at 7:30 p.m in The Majestic Theatre in downtown Dallas. The concert is part of Art & Soul 2008, a quadrennial program made possible by the Claudia and Taylor Robinson Lectureship at Perkins School of Theology. Tickets are $20-$45 and are available from www.ticketmaster.com and at any Ticketmaster outlet, or by calling 214-373-8000.