On May 26, California made national news when the state’s supreme court upheld Proposition 8 – a ballot initiative that stripped the right to marry away from gay and lesbian couples.
Legal analysts say the court made its decision because … while acknowledging that marriage is a “fundamental right” … the state constitution does not explicitly protect “fundamental rights,” and that therefore there is no ground to protect them from a popular vote.
Political analysts, meanwhile, point out that State Supreme Court justices are elected in California, and that the six justices had been threatened with recall efforts had they voted the other way.
But Joel Federman, who directs Saybrook’s Social Transformation Concentration, says there is sufficient precedent already for California to stand behind gay marriage.
“The California court had a precedent they could have followed to declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional, a 1996 US Supreme Court decision, Romer v. Evans, involving a constitutional amendment, Amendment 2, passed by a majority in Colorado, and intended to deny state and local government protection of "homosexuals, lesbians or bisexuals" from discrimination,” Federman wrote at topia.net. “As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in that decision, striking down Colorado Proposition 2: ‘A state cannot...deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.’ That eloquent phrasing captured the essential meaning of equal protection under the law, and applied it to same-sex discrimination.”
Eventually, Federman says, same-sex marriage will be an “unquestioned right, as obvious to the fair-minded as interracial marriage.”
“But,” he says, “in the meantime, we protest.”
But what will that protest look like? Civil rights marches emerged for the era of TV – what new forms of protest will emerge for the era of Facebook and Twitter? How effective will they be?
Saybrook President Lorne Buchman is pleased to announce that Chip Conley, a humanistic and socially conscious entrepreneur, will be the Honorary Degree recipient at the June, 2009 graduation. He has also graciously agreed to be graduation speaker.
The Honorary Doctorate Committee, composed of students, faculty, administrative staff and board carefully considered the outstanding candidates who had been nominated by members of the Saybrook community and graduating students for this year's honorary degree. The candidates who were chosen each represented a substantial body of work and high achievement in disciplines that embrace our values and principles. Although there were many nominees of substance, the top choices were forwarded to the President and the Board of Trustees for consideration, resulting in the decision to elect Chip Conley.
Chip’s most recently book PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow is introducing a new generation to Maslow’s work, and is once again demonstrating the relevancy of his writings and humanistic thought to contemporary business practice.
The Ford Foundation recently announced that it is endowing the first permanent arts foundation for the art and culture of American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native artists.
“This,” says Saybrook psychology faculty member Stanley Krippner, “can be a bonanza for indigenous arts.”
Krippner is just one of Saybrook’s many community members who have done extensive work with America’s native peoples, and many of them are thrilled the prospect of native artists finally receiving ongoing support and recognition.
But they also warn that there’s a big difference between “appreciating” native works of art that are preserved behind glass, and supporting the living, breathing, cultures that create today’s native traditions.
The first is easy, they say. The second is far more complex and challenging.
Seven years ago Alison Shapiro was the picture of a healthy 55 year-old. A happy life, a successful career; no health issues, no weight issues; her blood pressure was normal. She was in the middle of living out a lifelong dream, illustrating her first children’s book. She had three of 17 pictures finished.
Then she had a stroke. Twenty-four hours later, she had another.
You may think you’ve got problems, but probably not like Alison had.
The two strokes struck her brain stem – the most lethal place for a stroke to hit. Fifty percent of brain stem stroke victims die; others suffer from “locked in” syndrome, where they are fully conscious – and fully paralyzed. By the time the strokes were over, Alison’s left side was mostly paralyzed, and her right side was wildly uncoordinated. She couldn’t swallow, she couldn't sit up, her speech was heavily slurred, her eyes wouldn’t focus, she couldn’t walk.
It was the kind of event no one is ever prepared for.
“There I was, in that hospital,” she says. “I was completely stunned. It’s a very sudden event, it’s like a train wreck: one minute your life is fine, the next minute you can’t move. When it happened, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. I had no idea how to face it.”
But don’t feel bad for Alison: she figured out how to face it. And she wants you to know that when you have to face it … or any other adversity … that you can, too.
Today Alison is healthy, active, and engaged with life again: a fully functioning person who has published her children’s book. In fact, she says she feels more empowered than she ever has before.
And this month Alison, the Chair of Saybrook’s Board of Trustees, is seeing the release of a book about her recovery experience.
What do health care providers need to know to stay current?
The field of healthcare is changing dramatically.
Hospitals, clinics, and patients have new needs and expectations. Do you know what you’ll need to know?
Learn more about trends in medicine and the new skills that will be essential to 21st health-care practitioners at a special presentation featuring:
- Dr. James Gordon, MD, Dean of Saybrook Graduate School’s program in Mind-Body Medicine and Director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and;
- Heather Young, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., the Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing U.C. Davis and Dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
Together they’ll cover the ways that medicine is moving away from traditional roles in which the professional talks and the patient listens and towards a dialogue in which the patient’s participation is seen as crucial for good health.
Will file sharing, easy downloads, and a universe of experts all posting on Wikipedia make universities irrelevant within 15 years?
Yes, says David Wiley. Information will be free, and that means universities will have to radically restructure to accommodate that … or else face irrelevance.
Wiley, a leader in the “open content” movement and professor of psychology and instructional technology at Brigham Young University, made that prediction recently in the wake of student bodies more inclined to download than watch TV … and universities putting more and more class lectures online.
Between Facebook, Google, file sharing, YouTube, and universities putting lectures online, Wiley says, all universities have to offer paying students is a credential – and at some point that will be provided by other means, too.
Or will it? Eric Fox, Saybrook’s Dean of Instruction, says that he had a great time reading the article about Wiley’s prediction – but doesn’t think the future will pan out just that way.
That, Fox says, is because having “access” to information isn’t the same as “learning.”
Saybrook is proud to announce that it is co-sponsoring the annual conference of the Existential Humanistic Institute, which will be held November 19-21st, at First Universalist Unitarian Church and Center in San Francisco.
The topic of the conference will be “From Crisis to Creativity: Necessary Losses, Unexpected Gains.”
“The theme of our conference reflects the paradoxical nature of life and our times,” says EHI Vice-President and Saybrook faculty member Kirk Schneider. “In order to change and grow, a familiar way of being must end, so that a new way of being can develop. Letting go can be a terrifying process, filled with anxiety and confusion. But if we find the courage to let go and begin a new journey, down a new path, the possibilities of unexpected gains will be revealed.”
The roster of presenters is now being finalized, and there will be many significant names in the Existential-Humanistic therapy participating.
Do you ever worry that maybe you spend too much time updating your Facebook status at work?
Don’t. An Australian study suggests that, in fact, your office should be encouraging it.
According to the research out of the University of Melbourne, people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are nine percent more productive.
According to Wired Magazine, “’workplace Internet leisure browsing,’ or WILB, helped to sharpen workers' concentration,” so long as it took up less than 20% of their time at the office.”
Wow – who knew YouTube could be a productivity tool?
“This made me smile,” says Nina Serpiello, a PhD student in Saybrook’s Organizational Systems program and a human factors research designer at IDEO. “A traditional company might not encourage goofing off without having a business reason for it, like cultivating creativity for innovation. If a company is interested in empowering employees to offer ideas to outsmart the competition, then it also should promote activities that stimulate creative thinking.”
Students posted about it on their Facebook pages; faculty sent links back and forth; at Saybrook’s San Francisco offices, administrators asked one another about it. Everyone in the community, it seems, has an opinion about last week’s New York Times op-ed by Mark Taylor, “End of the university as we know it.”
In it, Taylor suggests scrapping traditional fields of study in favor of real-world problem solving clusters; abolishing tenure and replacing it with seven year, renewable, teaching contracts; replacing academic papers, and even dissertations, with scholarly multi-media presentations; and training academics for careers outside of teaching.
It’s not the first time the death of the modern university has come up (link), but this time it’s engaged the Saybrook community like no other.
Here are some student and faculty reactions. Please continue the conversation by leaving your own responses in the comments section.
Psychology faculty Eugene Taylor found the document “Orwellian” – and product of the very type of thinking it wishes would end.
“(Mark Taylor) might be more optimistic if he were more person-centered. The very thing all his emphatic points miss is the spiritual side of learning.” Eugene Taylor wrote.
Ruth Richards was thrilled to discover she had won the prestigious Arnheim Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Psychological Association – but she was less excited for herself than for her field.
This award, and the fact that it specifically cites her as one of the pre-eminent scholars in the study of creativity, is a major recognition of the field she’s devoted much of her scholarly life to.
“Everyday creativity may seem obvious, even a necessity for any of us to survive in this crazy world,” says Richards, a member of the psychology faculty at Saybrook. “But not everyone gets it yet. Clearly (the APA) committee did, and this award helps make our work much more mainstream.”
The study of creativity, Richards points out, goes back to the founders of humanistic psychology: both Abraham Maslow and Rollo May wrote a great deal about it. Her contribution has been to take the creative out of the realm of the artistic, and instead show how it operates in daily life.