Fordham Notes: September 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's so Bad About Walter White?

credit: AMC

Why is America so fascinated with Walter White, the mild-mannered chemistry teacher-turned-methamphetamine-drug-kingpin? Paul Levinson, professor of communications and author of the popular culture blog Infinite Regress, weighs in on the character of Walter, on human nature itself, and on the evolution of American television heroes, in anticipation of  the popular AMC show's final episode on Sunday, Sept. 29.

AUDIO: Fordham Professor Paul Levinson on "Breaking Bad"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Father McShane Discusses Pope Francis on Charlie Rose Show

Father McShane on Charlie Rose: The Week

If one wants to get a better understanding of what the Jesuit Pope is putting out there, who better to consult than a member of the Society of Jesus?

That’s exactly what newsman Charlie Rose did on Sept. 20, as he had a pair of Jesuits on his PBS show, “The Week,” to dissect Pope Francis’ much talked about interview with America magazine.

Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, was joined by Father Matt Malone, S.J., editor of America.

Rose asked Father McShane to give his thoughts on the interview, and whether it offended anyone.

“I would say most of the women and men who work in the parishes and frontline ministry, receive this with unfeigned joy, with great enthusiasm of spirit,” Father McShane said, “because it speaks in terms that resonate with the lived experiences of those who are pastors, women or men. I think those who did not receive this with joy would be those who have conceived of the faith in narrow, dogmatic terms, and not in terms of what Francis says is the beginning of the faith—encounters with the Lord.”

Father McShane, who last appeared on the Charlie Rose show just hours after Pope Francis was named as Pontiff, also opined on whether the Pope is a moral center to the world.

“I think he does want to call the world to its senses,” Father McShane said. “Although he seems very off the cuff, I don’t think he does anything off the cuff. I think he reflects deeply about what he’s going to do and then gives voice to the plan that he has conceived through testing and goes forward with it. I do think he wants to have a moral voice present in the world and I think in all that he did around the Syria question, he wants to unite all religious voices.”

Watch some excerpts from the interview on the Fordham YouTube page, and follow Fordham on Facebook, where we will post the whole video when it’s available.

- Gina Vergel

Friday, September 20, 2013

Head of ECLAC/CEPAL to Give a Talk at Fordham

Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL), will explore the future of Latin America and the Caribbean in a lecture on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Socio Economic Outlook of Latin America and the Caribbean
Thursday, Sept. 26
5 p.m.
Tognino Hall, Duane Library, Rose Hill Campus

Before working at the ECLAC/CEPAL, Bárcena served as the as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. She also was Chef de Cabinet and Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
Alicia Bárcena
Courtesy of Wikipedia
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Fordham community to hear and meet an influential member of the Latin American and international community, Alicia Bárcena,” said Dewis Shallcross, the representative for the Latin American and Latin Studies Institute (LALSI) Graduate Student Association.

The ECLAC/CEPAL, headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded in 1948 with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America and reinforcing its economic ties around the globe.

“This is the first time that Bárcena will be visiting our campus and we at LALSI would like to open this opportunity to those outside our own department,” Shallcross said.

The event is sponsored by LALSI. For more information and to RSVP, call LALSI’s office at (718) 817-4792 or email with “Barcena” in the subject line.

-Jenny Hirsch

Fordham Jesuits and Faculty Discuss Pope Francis in the Media

Pope Francis (Image via Wikipedia)

Buzzworthy is not a word one would normally associate with a global religious leader, but it’s apropos for Pope Francis. 

The news media is greatly interested (rightfully so) in what the Pontiff has to say, and, naturally, it results in opportunities for Jesuits and faculty from Fordham University to offer analysis.

A 12,000-word interview published on Sept. 19 by major Jesuit publications around the world, including the New York-based America magazine, created the latest “buzz.” In the exclusive interview, Pope Francis said that the Roman Catholic Church has become disproportionately obsessed with condemning abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.

Father Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, will discuss the Pope's insightful interview on the Charlie Rose show on Friday evening. He'll be joined by Father Matt Malone, S.J., editor of America. Check local listings here

“The interview brims with Pope Francis' fundamental optimism about human beings – and his confidence in our ability, individually and collectively, to discern what is good and what is of God,” J. Patrick Hornbeck, Ph.D., chair of the department of theology, told The Christian Science Monitor.

Hornbeck also gave an interview on television about the Pontiff, as did colleagues, Maureen Tilley, Ph.D., and Father John J. Shea, S.J. Watch below:

Don't forget to keep up with Fordham news on Twitter and Facebook, where we update faculty in the news often.

- Gina Vergel

Fordham Professor Co-Writes Hip Hop Lit

Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor of African and African-American Studies, has teamed up with Yale University graduate student Melissa Castillo-Garsow to write a new novel, “Pure Bronx” (Augustus Publishing, 2013).

The book, which will be available on October 13, provides intimate perspectives on life in the Bronx, in much the same way lyrics from hip-hop songs often expose the underbelly of urban life.

The plot features characters such as a drug dealer with a heart of gold and an ambitious woman forced to strip for financial support.

In an interview with the Washington Square News, Naison said he hopes the book will make people look more closely at poorer or working class neighborhoods.

“It shows some of the difficulties that young people from such areas may have to face in order to survive," he said.

"Sometimes the bad choices they make are the necessary choices.”

—Patrick Verel

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sixty Minutes with Eric Cantor

On Sept. 15, Fordham Law’s Forum on Law, Culture & Society joined the 92nd St. Y in sponsoring an appearance by U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Thane Rosenbaum, the John Whelan Distinguished Lecturer in Law and director of the forum, moderated the Q and A.

Among subjects touched upon by Rep. Cantor were Pres. Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization for an attack on Syria (“I was in support of granting the president that authority because I feel so strongly about America’s role in the world”); the chemical weapons agreement with Syria brokered by Vladimir Putin (“I’m worried now about the credibility of our (U.S.) word”); the Tea Party within the Republican Party (“Unfortunately the characterization by the media has been misportraying so many of those individuals, those moms, those grandmoms and dads . . . we’ve got more agreement than we have disagreement within our party”); global warming (“What our party has stood for is really almost like a cost-benefit analysis. Yes, we want clean air, clean water, we want to protect the environment. But you can’t do that if you can’t afford to put food on the table”); and the White House’s Hanukkah party (“[Pres. Obama] can hold his own [on the dreidel”).

You can see the entire interview at the Forum on Law, Culture & Society’s website.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

GBA Lecture to Feature Former Joint Chiefs of Staff

General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret).
The Graduate School of Business Administration’s annual Flaum Leadership Lecture Series will feature General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.). 

Gen. Pace was appointed the 16th Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. armed forces, in 2005.

He retired from active duty in 2007, after more than 40 years of service in the United States Marine Corps, and in 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a President can bestow. 

He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of several corporations involved in management consulting, private equity, and IT security. At the Graduate School of Business, he has lectured on topics such as leadership, “Lessons from the War in Iraq” and “Cyberterrorism: Implications for Financial Markets.”

His lecture next week will be “Leadership Biases.” A reception will immediately follow.

Tuesaday, Sept. 24

6 p.m.

12th-Floor Lounge | E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center, Lincoln Center campus

For more information, contact the Office of Special Events at

—Patrick Verel

Friday, September 13, 2013

Symposium to Focus on Citizenship, Immigration and National Security

Fordham Law’s Center on National Security will host a day-long symposium that will address the complex and shifting nature of citizenship rights in a post 9/11 world.

Experts will tackle topics such as the effects of post 9/11 legal and policy battles on the legal rights of citizens and non-citizens, the tensions between the state’s duty to protect and its desire to protect individual rights and liberties, and whether vigilance about terrorism has weakened the protections associated with citizenship, particularly with respect to ethnic and religious minorities.

Friday, Sept. 20

9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Fordham Law School, McNally Amphitheater, Lincoln Center campus

The symposium will feature four panel discussions: 

Enemy Citizens: Rethinking Rights in Times of War
Baher Azmy, legal director, Center for Constitutional Rights
David Cole, professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center
Thomas Lee, Leitner Family Professor of International Law, Fordham Law School
Peter Margulies, professor of law, Roger Williams University School of Law
Michael Paulsen, Distinguished University Chair and Professor of law, University of St. Thomas School of Law                                       
Moderator: Karen Greenberg, director, Center on National Security at Fordham Law School

U.S. Citizenship and the Right to Have Rights
Linda Bosniak, Distinguished professor of law, Rutgers-Camden School of Law
Jennifer Elsea, legislative attorney, Congressional Research Service
Andrew Kent, professor of law, Fordham Law School
Neomi Rao, associate professor of law, George Mason University School of Law
Moderator: Martin Flaherty, Leitner Family Professor of law, Fordham Law School

Speaker: Benjamin Wittes, senior fellow in governance studies, The Brookings Institution

Gaining and Losing Citizenship in the National Security Context
Muneer Ahmad, clinical professor of law, Yale Law School
Ramzi Kassem, associate professor of law, City University of New York Law School
Peter Spiro, Charles Weiner Chair in international law, Temple University Beasley School of Law
Stephen Vladeck, professor law, American University Washington College of Law
Leti Volpp, Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law in Access to Justice, UC Berkeley Law School
Moderator: Joseph Landau, associate professor of law, Fordham Law School

—Patrick Verel

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fordham Remembers 9/11 Through Prayer

Fordham will hold two Masses and a prayer service tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 11, in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. The times and locations of the services are as follows:

9/11 Remembrance Mass
Presided by: Mark Zittle, O.Carm. Sponsored by Campus Ministry.
12 p.m. | Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J., Chapel, Westchester Campus
Contact: Campus Ministry (914) 367-3420

9/11 Remembrance Mass
Presided by: Robert Grimes, S.J., associate professor of music and dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center. Sponsored by Campus Ministry.
12:15 p.m. | Blessed Rupert Mayer, S.J., Chapel, Lowenstein Center, Lincoln Center Campus
Contact: Campus Ministry (212) 636-6267

9/11 Remembrance Interfaith Prayer Service
A candlelight procession will begin in front of the McGinley Center and proceed to the 9/11 Memorial in Finlay Gardens. Sponsored by Campus Ministry.
8 p.m. | McGinley Center Lawn, McGinley Center, Rose Hill Campus
Contact: Conor O’Kane (718) 817-1272

Good Morning,Times Square

Students from Fordham's campuses came out to represent the University on Sept. 9 on "Good Morning America's College Week," a special edition of the popular morning show.

The ABC morning show celebrated "back to school" at colleges coast-to-coast and the "Fordham Pride" episode aired live, featuring an ebullient crowd (including the University's cheerleaders) outside the studios on West 44th Street and Broadway.

(Photos by Bruce Gilbert)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fordham Faculty Newsclip of the Week

Photo by Bruce Gilbert

As we saw during the Papal transition earlier this year, Fordham faculty are often interviewed in the media. As such, we've decided to share key stories our faculty are quoted in on a weekly basis.

This week's news clip involves a hot Democratic mayoral primary race in New York City. Following the Democratic debate on Sept. 4, Costas Panagopoulos, associate professor of political science and Director of Fordham's Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy, weighed in on how it went in the Wall Street Journal:

"There were no knockout punches. Overall, my impression was the dynamics of the race were not shaken up in any meaningful way ... " Panagopoulos said.

Read the rest of his comments, and the entire article, here.

Spotlight on Bridge2Business: Making Career Connections

Alumni find many ways to participate in and contribute to the life of Fordham University and often these are self-directed passions rather than institutional initiatives. For Carlos Oliveras, FCRH ’79, it was a desire to help people and help Fordham that led him to form Bridge2Business with a group of other like-minded alumni. What started as an idea is now a growing organization serving the needs of students, alumni, Fordham, and the New York City business community.

A few years ago, Oliveras and his fellow members of the Bridge2Business leadership team—all alumni representing classes from the 1960s to the ’90s—developed an idea for a networking group of executive-level alumni that would work in partnership with Fordham University. This network of alumni contacts working at leading companies in industries—spanning from government to publishing—help to identify internship and employment opportunities at their employers for Fordham students, recent graduates, and alumni in transition.

“When people come up to us, we find out what industry they are interested in and we introduce them to people in that industry,” says Oliveras, chair of Bridge2Business. “Because you’re much more likely to get a job through networking with a person, than through an online application.”
Carlos Oliveras

This network of dedicated volunteer alumni is Bridge2Business’ membership network of 200 members so far—all alumni who have graduated at least eight years ago and have been or are in a senior or executive role—who help to identify the various opportunities. Members work in such organizations as the Wildlife Conservation Society, MagnaCare, Barclay Capital, McCann Erickson, UBS Investment Bank, NBCUniversal, and IMG Sports.

These influential alumni, “can be a conduit,” says Oliveras, CEO and managing director of Kane (USA), Inc., the U.S. operations for Kane, the largest global independent insurance manager. “We can use our influence and expertise to open doors. At the same time, students and alumni can be networking and learning about different organizations.”

When alumni within the membership network identify a possible internship or job position opening, Bridge2Business shares that information with the Office of Career Services, who can alert interested students. Or deans from the University’s undergraduate colleges will often reach out to Bridge2Business if they know of a student or graduate who could be a great fit for a position. Bridge2Business has also worked with the career services office to help them find keynote speakers for their annual Diversity Fair.

Oliveras, who has worked in the insurance industry for more than 30 years, studied economics at Fordham College at Rose Hill. He says that while Fordham had on-campus recruiting when he was a student, career services now offers students more extensive resources. And through Bridge2Business Oliveras has found a way to be another resource to the University.

“The school allowed me to achieve things that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. I love the school,” says Oliveras, who was the first in his family to attend college.

“This is a great way to give back.”

If you want to learn more about Bridge2Business or are interested in joining the membership network, e-mail or stop by the group’s table under the tent on Edwards Parade at Homecoming on Sept. 21.

Alumni get involved with Fordham in many ways. Find out how you can get connected and stay connected to your alma mater. 
—Rachel Buttner

Panel to Analyze Pope Francis’ First Six Months on the Job

In February, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world with his decision to resign from the papacy—the first pope to do so in nearly six centuries.

The novelties kept coming when a month later it was announced to the world’s two billion Catholics that Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would succeed Benedict, giving the church its first South American and first Jesuit pope.

Next week, Fordham University’s Department of Theology will host a panel of experts to discuss how the newly-elected Pope Francis has handled the first six months of his papacy and what the Catholic community can expect moving forward.

Six Months of Pope Francis: A Panel Discussion
Monday, Sept. 9
5:30 p.m.
12th-floor Lounge / Corrigan Conference Center
Lincoln Center Campus

Fordham theologians and prominent religion journalist Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press will examine the first six months of Pope Francis’s leadership, including the tone he has set for his papacy, the initiatives he has already undertaken, and the prospects for the months and years to come.

The panel will feature:
  • Christine Firer Hinze, Ph.D., professor of theology and director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies;
  • Michael Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of theology and president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States;
  • Michael Peppard, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology and blog contributor for Commonweal magazine;
  • moderator Terrence Tilley, Ph.D., the Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Professor of Catholic Theology; and
  • respondent Rachel Zoll, lead religion reporter for the AP.
Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions after the discussion, which is free and open to the public.

The event is hosted by the Department of Theology, in association with the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies and the Center on Religion and Culture.

For more information, email the theology department or call (718) 817-3240. Follow Fordham theology on Twitter @fordhamTheology.

— Joanna Klimaski

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Debra McPhee Begins Her Tenure as New Dean of GSS

Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) has a new dean. Debra M. McPhee, Ph.D., was appointed to the position in the spring and began in her new post this fall.

“It's a privilege to join the school's outstanding faculty, staff, and students in creating the next phase of our history,” said McPhee, who recently welcomed the incoming class of 579 students studying at GSS to earn a master’s degree in social work. “I'm excited to be an active member of a school and a university that cares so much about its students and making a real and positive difference in the world.”

From 2005 to 2010, McPhee was dean of the School of Social Work at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., where she had also served as associate dean and a faculty member. For the last two years she was the chief operating officer for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Planet Hope -, a firm that specializes in online health education and technology.

An award-winning educator, McPhee has taught a variety of courses, from introductory social work practice to graduate courses on policy issues in family and children’s services. Her primary areas of research, in which she has published widely, include international healthcare policy, child abuse and neglect, women and welfare reform, public policy analysis, and professional practice and service delivery.

“In the New York region and across the country there's a greater need than ever for professional social workers who are prepared for leadership and professional practice,” she said, adding that she shares GSS’s “deep commitment to human rights and social justice and to educating highly skilled and competent professionals to work on behalf of our most vulnerable populations.”

No stranger to New York, McPhee earned her master’s degree from the School of Social Work at Columbia University in 1989. She received her doctorate in 1998 from the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto.

The first GSS class McPhee will preside over as dean is quite diverse. More than 40 percent of students are non-white; 40 students are originally from other countries, including two international students who came to the school from China and one who came from Ghana.

McPhee replaced Peter Vaughan, Ph.D., who retired in the spring after 13 years as GSS dean.

—Joanna Klimaski and Nicole LaRosa

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fordham Pride on ABC's 'Good Morning America'

Fordham is going to be represented on "Good Morning America's College Week" and you can be a part of it.

The ABC morning show is celebrating "back to school" at colleges coast-to-coast with a special week of shows. The "Fordham Pride" episode airs live on Monday, Sept. 9, from 7 to 9 a.m. 

Proud students and alumni are urged to show up outside of the Good Morning America's New York City studios to give their school a shout-out. Wear your favorite Fordham and Fordham Rams shirts, hats, and gear. Bring signs that celebrate Fordham. 

Again, Fordham Pride on Good Morning America will take place on Monday, Sept. 9, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., at the GMA Studios, West 44th St. and Broadway, New York, NY 10036.

-Gina Vergel