Dr. James P. Comer tagged as keynote speaker for college of education's Dean's Lecture Series

A wide variety of important topics on multicultural education will be covered March 6-7 at the Deanís Lecture Series sponsored by the college of education at Murray State University. All activities will be held in Alexander Hall.

The major goal of the series is to acquire knowledge to develop a flexible understanding of cultural, social and family dynamics of diverse groups, along with a comprehension of the social, political, economic, and historical contexts in which people from diverse multicultural groups are embedded.

On Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m., Dr. James P. Comer will lead off the series with a keynote address in the Alexander Hall Auditorium (room 240). A medical doctor who is known internationally for his efforts in support of the healthy development of young people, Comer currently serves as associate dean for student affairs and Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicineís Child Study Center.

Comerís presentation titled Higher Educationís Role in Improving Schools through Stewardship of Place will embrace multicultural content about how to provide the best comprehensive educational and support services to an increasingly diverse student population. It will also address how to have the most psychological and social impact of programs to increase cultural and racial tolerance.

Since becoming a Yale medical faculty member in 1968, Comer has concentrated his career on promoting a focus on child development as a way of improving schools. A prolific writer and author of nine books, he is probably best known for the founding of the Comer School Development program which promotes the collaboration of parents, educators and community to improve social, emotional and academic outcomes for children that, in turn, helps them achieve greater school success. His concept of teamwork has improved the educational environment in more than 500 schools throughout America.

In addition to his writing, teaching and research activities, Comer has served as a consultant to the Childrenís Television Workshop, which produces Sesame Street and The Electric Company. He has provided testimony before state and congressional legislative bodies. He was also a consultant to the Public Committee on Mental Health chaired by former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, as well as a member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy.

He chaired the Roundtable on Child and Adolescent Development Research and Teacher Education, organized by the National Association for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Throughout his career, Comer has been recognized by many organizations and awarded 43 honorary degrees. Among his many honors are the Heinz Award in the Human Condition for his profound influence on disadvantaged children, the John P. McGovern Behavioral Science Award from the Smithsonian, and the John Hope Franklin Award, given to those who have demonstrated the highest commitment to access and excellence in American education.

Comer will visit with Murray State undergraduate students Friday, March 7 from 9:30-10:45 a.m. in the Alexander Hall Auditorium. During this time, he will speak to students on the specialized interdisciplinary fields such as moving forward by increasing academic achievement. The 2008 Deanís Lecture on Multicultural Education will follow this presentation at 11:30 a.m. in room 310E of Alexander Hall. This presentation titled Building Communities: Building Schools will seek to reform both schooling and the cultural and political contexts of schooling, aiming to enhance school and academic achievement.

For more information about the series send an email to penny.futrell@coe.murraystate.edu or call (270) 809-3817.

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