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Spring 2014 Leader Letter: Event Reports

Wed, Feb 19, 2014

Midwest Qualitative Research Conference (MQRC)

The Midwest Qualitative Research Conference (MQRC) is a vibrant urban conference attracting presenters from around the Midwest and across the country. Discussions examine the challenges and rewards of qualitative methodologies in institutional and informal settings, to understand all aspects of the human experience.

The theme of the conference in fall 2013 was Urban Streets to College Campus: The Social Context of Education and Youth Violence. The social world is a complex environment, consisting of various social structures and functions, as well as power dynamics that shape our relationships and world. Dr. Victor Rios, our keynote speaker, drew on his experience as a former gang member who escaped the urban streets to earn a Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley to share the impact of education and criminalization through the sociological lens of youth control complex.

Check out highlights from the keynote address (links) or view the entire address (link).! Or browse through our multimedia section to view conference highlights or the entire keynote address.

Public Policy and Mental Health Conference

The Wellstone Public Policy and Mental Health Conference focused on the separate functional silos of public policy regarding mental health care and the clinical practices and processes supporting mental health care. A goal for the conference was to bring together these seemingly separate professional silos of mental health professionals/policy makers and substance abuse or addiction professionals and counselors.

This remains pertinent because of the increased criminalization and incarceration of individuals who suffer from varying degrees of mental health issues. Since the system incarcerates first and seeks counseling and psychological treatment after criminal charges have been filed; the policy implementation process tends to be skewed against individuals with mental health issues. An added complication is that a lot of individuals self-medicate for a variety of reasons that can lead to addiction-related problems and encounters with law enforcement professionals.

We were honored to have Carol McDaid as the keynote speaker for the conference.

McDaid is a co-founder and principal of Capitol Decisions Inc. With nearly 25 years of federal legislative experience in Washington, D.C.,  McDaid provides her clients with legislative and public affairs consulting on issues that span the breadth of health care, including Medicare, Medicaid, private sector reimbursement issues and comparative effectiveness research. Because McDaid personally overcame addiction, she understands the challenges, political and personal, of dealing with alcohol and drug issues.

International Leadership Forum

The International Leadership Program hosted its biannual International Leadership Forum in fall 2013 with Thomas Hanson giving a presentation titled, “Advancing the Common Good through Public Services and International Affairs: An Insider’s Insight.”

A graduate from the University of Minnesota, Hanson worked as a foreign service officer for a number of years in France, East Germany, Norway, Sweden, Georgia and the Soviet Union. Hanson assisted in opening United States embassies in Mongolia and Estonia and worked on the Foreign Relations Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. More recently, Hanson was the director for NATO and European affairs at the Atlantic Council of the United States. He is currently the program secretary of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations, and a lecturer and consultant for the Great Decisions Program at the Minnesota International Center.

Drawing on his wealth of experience in various professional capacities, Hanson advised graduate students about the changing terrain of international relations and talked about the core skills and competencies that would be necessary to gain entry and leave a lasting footprint in the field.

Save the Date: Upcoming Events

The department has many events coming up this spring and fall! Keep an eye on our events website, http://www.stthomas.edu/celc/newsevents, for more information about the following events:

  • May 8: Julian Parker Lecture Series. Keynote speaker: Judge William J. Haynes, Jr. '70
  • October 23: The 20th Annual Midwest Qualitative Research Conference
  • October 29: Wellstone Public Policy & Mental Health Conference
  • November 19: International Leadership Forum

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