Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks: Stay in school, stay focused, stay true to what you love.

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks: Stay in school, stay focused, stay true to what you love.

Looming larger than life while making his way from the back of the theatre, the 6’5” coach took to the small stage at UMKC and shared stories about his life, his career, his success and failures.

Throughout a Q&A and ongoing discussion led by UMKC senior Rashad Lartey at the Men of Color Campus Initiative, his theme remained the same: stay in school, stay focused and stay true to what you love.

Mel Tyler said that the definitions of friendship and leadership personified his long-time friend, Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks, as he welcomed Woodson to UMKC.

Tyler, vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management, said Woodson gives support and assistance, serves as someone who guides others and is an example for others to follow.

Woodson’s answers to the audience of more than 100 confirmed what Tyler said.

“My greatest influencers were my parents, my whole family really,” said Woodson. “We were programmed to work, and I have worked since my father died when I was about 13 years-old.”

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks

Mike Woodson, coach of the New York Knicks Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications.
Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

“During college, I needed back surgery as I was hoping to be drafted into the NBA,” said Woodson. “I had worked hard to get to this point. It was an eight-week recovery, and at the end my mom had one profound piece of advice for me.”

Woodson said his mother urged him to focus on his education, not athletics. She said she was not concerned if he ever played basketball again. “Finish college – no one could take your education away.”

“My strong discipline and dedication helped develop my leadership skills, and they were strengthened by coaches, especially Bobby Knight at Indiana University,” Woodson said. “When working with players, you wear a lot of hats and need to find the ‘right buttons’ to reach each player.

“Knight was a stickler for being on time, going to class and coming to practice. Today students have a hard time with this kind of discipline and criticism that’s designed to help them get better.”

According to Woodson, students need to realize that study plays a major role in life and criticism – constructive – aids in their growth.

“As coach for the Atlanta Hawks, I was working with a struggling team, but we made great progress,” said Woodson. “We had 53 wins in the year that I got fired. I still don’t know why I was fired, but I took the time to help me get better.”

He encouraged everyone to take such setbacks as opportunities to reflect – what I did right, what I need to improve upon – and prepare to move forward when the next opportunity comes your way.

“And, it will,” said Woodson. He said it gave him more time for his wife, two daughters and some golf.

His advice to all students is to get an education, go to class. He and his wife of 32-years are helping their daughters, who just graduated from Georgia Tech, figure out the jobs that are best suited for them.

“You have to steer your children in the right direction. And you have to heed the advice you give them – when you fail, you have to get up.

“Find what’s worthwhile – I believe we all have a purpose. Without education, jobs are tough to find; life is full of ups and downs.” Figure out your mistakes during down times and get back up, Woodson reiterated throughout the afternoon.

Woodson started a real estate business, and each year beginning in 1986, he would buy property in Bloomington, Ind. for college students. He hired a management company to manage the property and learned the business in the off-season.

Today, Woodson has 2,500 apartment units with 40 employees managing the company.

“I love basketball and real estate and find it fulfilling to help basketball players become the best they can be and put together plays that make us a winning team. And, I enjoy putting together deals in real estate. Helping others has always been important to me, and I’ve continued it throughout my life and my career.”

Woodson believes you can find your passion – where you have an opportunity to grow, to enjoy life and to help others.

“I am truly thankful for the life I have.”

University of Missouri-Kansas City | Kansas City, MO 64110 | (816) 235-1000

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"The soft bigotry of low expectations"

"The soft bigotry of low expectations" African-American Students May Improve Grades if Teachers Convey High Standards, Study Shows

AUSTIN, Texas — African-American students who need to improve their academic performance may do better in school and feel less stereotyped as underachievers if teachers convey high standards and their belief that students can meet them, according to new psychology research from The University of Texas at Austin.

The findings, published online in August in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, contradict a common trend in education of praising students for mediocre work to help raise self-esteem before delivering critical remarks. That method may seem patronizing and could backfire and lower self-esteem, especially when white teachers praise African-American students, said lead researcher David Yeager, assistant professor of developmental psychology.

In three studies conducted at suburban and inner-city schools, African-American students improved their grades after receiving a simple, one-sentence note from their teachers or an online pep talk. The exercises were designed to dispel students’ fears that criticism of their academic work could be caused by different treatment of African-American students rather than their teachers’ high standards.

African American Students

Washington, D.C. International student assembly. American Negro students. Creator(s): Parks, Gordon, 1912-2006, photographer. Date Created / Published: 1942 Sept.

In the first study at a suburban public middle school in Connecticut, 44 seventh-grade students (22 African-American and 22 white) wrote an essay about a personal hero that was critiqued by their teachers for improvements in a second draft. The students were randomly assigned to two groups with the experimental group receiving a hand-written note with their critiqued essay that stated, “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations, and I know that you can reach them.” The control group got a note that stated, “I’m giving you these comments so that you’ll have feedback on your paper.”

For African-American students who received the high-expectations note, 71 percent revised their essays, compared to 17 percent in the control group. The findings were even more pronounced for African-American students who had reported low trust in their teachers in surveys, with 82 percent revising their essays in the high-expectations group, compared to none in the control group. White students who received the high-expectations note also were more likely to revise their essays, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant compared to the control group.

The second study, conducted a year later with a similar group of 22 African-American and 22 white seventh-grade students, carried the research a step further by analyzing grades for the revised essays. In the high-expectations group, 88 percent of African-American students received better grades on their revised essays, compared to 34 percent in the control group. More than two months after the exercise, African-American students who had received the high-expectations note also reported higher levels of trust in their teachers. White students in the high-expectations group also saw slightly higher grades, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant.

The third study was conducted with 50 African-American and 26 white students at a New York City public high school where most children lived in low-income households. One group of students watched online testimonials that included photos of older students and their advice that academic criticism resulted from teachers’ high standards and their belief that students could reach them. One control group saw online testimonials with vague statements about teachers’ motives, while another control group completed some puzzles.

Over the next 10 weeks, African-American students in the high-expectations group showed higher grades across four core subjects — math, science, English and history. The improvement averaged a third of a grade point increase on a standard 4.0 grade point scale, equivalent to moving from a C- to a C or a B to a B+. White students in the high-expectations group saw a slight improvement in grades, but the change wasn’t statistically significant.

Sept. 5, 2013 For more information, contact: Jessica Sinn, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-2404; David Yeager, Department of Psychology, 512-471-1846, yeager@psy.utexas.edu

Sunday, September 1, 2013

For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis

For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis.

The first of five policy briefs — the hallmark of an ongoing, multi-disciplinary study titled “For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis” — has been released to coincide with the Aug. 28 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Titled “How Can We Save Lives — and Save Money — in St. Louis? Invest in Economic and Educational Opportunity,” the brief focuses on the need for a multidisciplinary approach to improve health by focusing on education and economic opportunities for African Americans in St. Louis. The brief notes that educational and economic factors are closely related to health outcomes but many do not think of them as linked.

Using local data and a formula derived from decades of studies on social factors and mortality, it estimates that one in six deaths among African-American adults in 2011 was due to poverty or low levels of education. The cost to the region of this loss of life is estimated at $3.3 billion.

For the Sake of All: A Report on the Health and Well-Being of African Americans in St. Louis

“On a day when we stop to reflect on the great progress we have made as a nation since Dr. King first articulated his dream and the considerable work yet to be done, it seemed appropriate to add this information to the conversation here in St. Louis,” said Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and lead researcher on the project.

“Access to quality medical care is essential to improving the health and well-being of African Americans,” the brief notes, “but the health sector cannot do it alone.”

The report offers two concrete, evidence-based suggestions for improvement — and examples of what is already working — that were informed by engaging key stakeholders in the community:

Invest in quality early childhood development for all children.
Help low- to moderate-income families create economic opportunities.

The project team hopes that members of the community will use the opportunity of the brief’s release to add their own perspectives through a commenting feature on the project website. They will use comments and input from additional community engagement efforts to craft the final set of recommendations to be included in a final report.

“For the Sake of All” is funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health and includes faculty from Washington University in St. Louis and from Saint Louis University. WUSTL’s Institute for Public Health, the Brown School’s Policy Forum, the The St. Louis American newspaper and the online news site St. Louis Beacon are partners as well.

“This is incredibly important work for this region,” said Donald M. Suggs, DDS, publisher of The St. Louis American. “It is vital that this information about the relationship between health and key social factors is in the hands of policymakers and members of the community so that we can work together to address lingering disparities.”

The next brief, scheduled for release this fall, will center on high school dropouts and health. The project’s entire research findings will culminate in a community conference in the spring of 2014, the year of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The project team of African-American scholars cuts across disciplines and institutions.

The participating scholars from Washington University, in addition to Purnell, are:

Bettina F. Drake, PhD, assistant professor of surgery in Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine;
Melody S. Goodman, PhD, assistant professor of surgery in Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine;
Darrell L. Hudson, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School; and
William F. Tate, PhD, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences and chair of the Department of Education.

Saint Louis University faculty partners are:

Keith Elder, PhD, associate professor and chair, Department of Health Management & Policy for the College for Public Health & Social Justice; and
Keon Gilbert, DPhil, assistant professor at the College for Public Health & Social Justice.

Washington University in St. Louis. One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130. MEDIA CONTACTS Leslie McCarthy Senior News Director (314) 935-6603 leslie_mccarthy@wustl.edu