Friday, January 25, 2013

EEJ College of Education and Human Services Week Events

Are you ready for CEHS week?

All week:

Service Project will collect school supplies for base camp at Mount Everest.

We need: Lightweight school supplies like pencils, erasers, rulers, scissors, crayons, markers, glue (no books)

Also all week:

College T shirts available for $8

photo of arm wrestlers

Monday Feb. 4

Arm wrestling tournament
11:30 to 1 p.m.
TSC International Lounge
Cash prizes available
$5 entry fee
(but admission is free)
Sign up in the HPER front office

Thanks everyone who participated! You can view photos of the event in our Facebook photo album.

Tuesday Feb. 5

Hot chocolate by the HPER
served between HPER and Education building
11:30 a.m.

Spelling Bee
7 pm
TSC International Lounge
Sign up by posting a message to our wall on Facebook.
Study up by visiting our Spelling Bee word list.

Wednesday Feb. 6

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Featuring EBLS students
11:30 to 12:45
TSC International Lounge
Prizes available
Sign up via a wall post to our Facebook page.
Participants may also enter to compete at the event.

Thursday Feb. 7

Dr. Rich Gordin
"ElevatED: Living up to your full potential."
TSC ballroom, 6 p.m.

Friday Feb. 8

Live Bands! 
7 p.m. in the TSC Ballroom
Featuring Children of the North, Little Barefoot and Filthy and the McNasty's
Admission is $1.

This week’s events brought to you by: The EEJ CEHS Student Council

New school trust land study examines a diminished legacy

photo of wild lands
The concept of school trust lands has been around since 1785, when Congress set aside Section 16 in every township for the benefit of schools.

But a recent study from Utah State University’s Center for the School of the Future has found that nationwide, most of that land is no longer serving its intended purpose.

The study, entitled A Magnificent Endowment: American's School Trust Lands, can be downloaded from the CSF website. Its findings were recently reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.

“In every state, the courts have reiterated that School Trust Lands and Permanent School Funds are intended to benefit public schools and students—and no one else,” the report states.

“Even so, lax enforcement, competing priorities, and even malfeasance have reduced School Trust Lands by two-thirds nationwide. Although much of the original grants have been lost, some states have preserved and strengthened the legacy of School Trust Lands through careful management.”

The state-by-state report indicates how many acres of the original trust lands remain, how much revenue they generate, and how the money is administered. Here are some examples:

photo of Richard West
CSF Executive Directtor
Richard West
Wyoming started out with 3.4 million acres and retains a little more than 3 million, which generated $259 million in revenue in 2011. Most of that money came from minerals. California had more than 5 million acres at statehood and now retains only 469,000 of surface lands and about 1.3 million acres of mineral rights. These lands generated $6 million in 2011.

“Twenty-five years ago, we could have been California,” said Richard West, the study’s principal investigator. At the time, Utah’s trust lands were being sold off at an alarming rate. Watchdogs—including the Utah Education Association—spoke out. The Utah Legislature intervened and Utah began treating the school trust lands like a business.

Utah once had six million acres of school trust land, of which 3.3 million remain. That land generated $89 million in gross revenue in the 2011 fiscal year.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Concert will honor Beverley Taylor Sorenson

photo of Beverley Taylor Sorenson
Beverley Taylor Sorenson
An upcoming concert will honor Beverley Taylor Sorenson, whose contributions continue to be felt in both arts and education at Utah State University. She recently established an endowed program making the arts accessible to children with disabilities.

The Caine College of the Arts and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services will join in thanking her during the Grand Gala Concert on Friday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m.

The recent $3 million endowment from Sorenson will help children with disabilities access the arts in education. Her support allows staff from the two colleges to create modules that will show teachers ways to adapt arts education so that all children will have a chance to participate. For example, it may find ways to use assistive technology so that a child who cannot grip a brush can still paint.

The university will also provide technical support to schools and develop course work for students studying special and elementary education. It will all be done with the goal of increasing arts experiences for children with disabilities.

The endowment adds to the tremendous support Sorenson has already given to arts and education. The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Endowed Chair for Elementary Arts Education is already established at USU, helping current and future teachers incorporate the arts into the core curriculum.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Utah State University Study Finds Alzheimer's Can Be Slowed By Environment

A man helps his father use a walker in a park
Study Reveals "Positive" Caregiver Coping Strategies Affect Rate of Dementia Progression

Utah State University (USU) today announced the results of a study presenting strong evidence that caregivers can promote higher functioning among persons with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia by modifying the patient's environment.

It has been published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and reported in the Huffington Post's Post 50 blog. Update: The Aging Care website, AARP blog and the Deseret News have also featured this research.

The Cache County Dementia Progression Study is the first published academic research to show evidence that environmental factors--such as aspects of the care environment--could slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The study offers hope for those trying to mitigate the effects of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, which affects one in eight older Americans. It is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death nationally that, to date, cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

The study found that employing higher levels of "positive" coping strategies (e.g., problem-focused coping, seeking high levels of social support, counting blessings, etc.) slows patient decline as measured by the Mini-Mental State Exams.  This exam is a global measure of cognitive ability that assesses orientation, attention, memory, language and visuospatial ability.

"This study is a groundbreaking event in the fight against dementia, including Alzheimer's, which has been so pervasively devastating for individuals and families, especially given the limited treatment options for patients and their families," said Dr. JoAnn Tschanz, Professor at USU and the study's lead author. "Except for psychiatric symptoms, few studies have examined how caregiver characteristics affect the rate of dementia progression, and our findings indicate significant associations between caregiver coping strategies and the rate of cognitive and functional decline in dementia."

Conducted in Cache County, Utah, by a team of USU researchers along with fellow researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the study assessed 226 persons with dementia and their caregivers semi-annually for up to six years.

"Greater use of problem-focused coping may be mutually beneficial for both patients and caregivers," said Dr. Tschanz. "Use of this coping strategy may translate into developing a care environment that is tailored to individual patient needs. Furthermore, other research suggests problem-focused coping has been associated with less emotional distress among caregivers. Such strategies may help caregivers cope with the stress of dementia caregiving while curbing the progression of dementia in their patients."

The study, entitled "Caregiver Coping Strategies Predict Cognitive and Functional Decline in Dementia: The Cache County Dementia Progression Study," was published in the January 2013 issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The study's research team from the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services included Drs. Joann and Brian Tschanz and Dr. Scott DeBerard of Psychology and Dr. Kathleen Piercy, Dr. Maria Norton and Dr. Elizabeth Fauth of the Family, Consumer and Human Development department.  

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.