North Carolina state university

A recently published study claims that the push for healthy, home-cooked family meals – pressure coming from famous “foodies,” public health officials and First Lady Michelle Obama – is actually a “moralistic … elitist … burden” on poor and working-class mothers.

First Lady Michelle Obama has made health food and exercise programs for children her signature issue. The study says she has been “influential in popularizing public health messages that emphasize the role that mothers play when it comes to helping children make healthy choices,” but that advice shames mothers into “unrealistic standards of ‘good’ mothering.”

The North Carolina State University study contends the notion of healthy, home-cooked meals is an “alluring” but “tasty illusion, one that is moralistic, and rather elitist, instead of a realistic vision of cooking today.”

The study further contends home cooking represents an “elite foodie standpoint,” as many of the working-class families the authors spoke to lacked necessary kitchen space, reliable transportation to the grocery store and functional appliances.

It’s also sexist, the study’s authors suggest, noting that “intentionally or not, it places the burden of a healthy home-cooked meal on women.”

Researchers spent 18 months conducting in-depth interviews with 150 black, white, and Latina mothers, as well as spent more than 250 hours in observation of 12 working-class and poor families to determine their results.

The end result was that they questioned why reforming the food system has to be in someone’s kitchen.

“The emphasis on home cooking ignores the time pressures, financial constraints, and feeding challenges that shape the family meal,” the study states. “Yet this is the widely promoted standard to which all mothers are held.”

The authors used a series of anecdotes to show the “pressures” of cooking. A working-class, black mother of three had just spent hours cooking up $80 worth of ingredients to make a Fourth of July meal, only to find her family completely disinterested, for example.

“Romantic depictions of cooking assume that everyone has a home, that family members are home eating at the same time, and that kitchens and dining spaces are equipped and safe,” the study states. “This is not necessarily the case for the families we met.”

As a solution, the authors recommend a revival of monthly town suppers, healthy food trucks and schools offering to-go meals to families that can easily be heated up on weeknights.

“Without creative solutions like these, suggesting that we return to the kitchen en masse will do little more than increase the burden so many women already bear,” the study reads.

The study, however, fails to mention whether mothers said they had good experiences cooking at home for their families.

A University of Michigan study from 2012 calls into question the allegation that the cooking meals falls squarely on women. The report found that men from Generation X are increasingly involved in shopping for food and cooking, more so than the previous generation.

Men were found to go grocery shopping more than once a week and cook an average of about eight meals per week.

“I was surprised to see how often GenX men shop and cook,” said Jon Miller, the author of study. “Women, particularly married women, are still doing more cooking and shopping. But men are much more involved in these activities than they used to be. The stereotype that men can’t do much more in the kitchen than boil water just can’t hold water, as it were.”

What’s more, the ongoing economic recession has prompted even more men to spend time in the kitchen.

“Compared to 1970, men have tripled the amount of time they’re spending in the kitchen today,” Food Channel reports.

RELATED: GWU Professor Calls Out First Lady’s Anti-Obesity Group For Link to Big Business

College Fix reporter Michael Cipriano is a student at American University.

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Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more unintentionally hilarious, along comes (North Carolina State’s) Technician’s Mary Anna Rice complaining about those “insensitive” Caucasians once again “appropriating” another racial group’s culture:

“All About that Bass” joins the ranks of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” MAGIC!’s “Rude” and Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” as songs involving white performers adopting black culture as their own. Whether it be the use of an artificial African-American vernacular, the unabashed commandeering of reggae music elements or the utilization of black dancers as props to, shall we say, prop the lead singer up, we have it all!

But we’re discussing “All About that Bass” specifically. In addition to using a dialect that is decidedly not natural to her, [Meghan] Trainor surrounds herself with people of color from the beginning of the music video. Her primary back-up dancers, two black women, are shown flanking her in multiple shots throughout the video, lending her support and approval. Read: credibility.

The black women in the video have no purpose outside of encouraging Trainor, a white woman. In this way, they are effectively rendered props to be used by her as she pleases. This is not OK.

Mid-song, Trainor states she’s “bringing booty back.” Under the current connotation of the word “booty,” it is not Trainor’s to bring back. The term evokes a stereotypical image of a sexualized black woman, and has, in the past, been used to misrepresent black women as sex objects who don’t have the ability to say no.

Are folks like Ms. Rice too “sensitive?” Should they “get over it?”

“Um, no” she writes. “We no longer live in a civilization where this should be considered even remotely acceptable” (emphasis mine). And how dare white singers “appropriate” what black singers and rapper do. After all, “it is not theirs to do with what they want,” Rice says.

eminemWord is Eminem’s next album is titled Who, Me Appropriate?

kennygKenny G: Amorally appropriating jazz since 1973.

Read the full article here.

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When I graduate in a few months with a degree in political science from North Carolina State University, I will have completed roughly one-third of my required hours over the Internet within the comfort of my own home.

My experiences with distance education have made me rather skeptical of some in the academic community who label distance education as the incestuous offspring of trend and convenience. It’s not.

For one, participation, exams and papers—they are all part of the distance education model. You don’t get out of them because you’re taking the class online.

But participation and human interaction (or the lack thereof) is often the go-to criticism for distance ed detractors. For example, a column written by a fellow college student recently stated as much, but the complaints were largely focused on how online education diminishes extracurricular, outside-the-classroom face time.

And while the column also rightly points out that online class discussions can become flaccid, and that the lack of human interaction can detract from the overall learning experience, does this not also describe the experience many have in traditional classes, too?

Especially for those enrolled in a large university, many lower-level classes take place in a stadium setting, with two or three hundred students copying notes from a Power Point presentation.

Even if a student attends a smaller school, most have been in at least one class where attendance was the lone measure of class “participation.”

On the flip side, most of my online classes require large amounts of student interaction.

As with live classes, online class professors also set the rules of engagement for participation, as well as the required frequency. So a class—live or online—that is limp-wristed in its participation requirements is a negative reflection on the course design rather than the course location.

My experience in distance education participation requirements run the gamut: forum posts; phone calls; video chat; interviews, surveys.

Heck, last spring I completed an entire lab section via distance education delivery. And per the professor, my lab experience is precisely the same as those who took the lab on campus.

But the most prominent method of interaction is class forums. Most courses require students make a certain number of original posts and respond to classmates’ original posts each week. These forums aren’t for students only, though. Instructors and TA’s often jump in the mix to steer discussion just as they would in an on-campus class.

Another qualm that those opposed to online courses raise is that of professorial interaction. And it’s true: the student does not have immediate access to a professor during class time.

This isn’t a problem for those comfortable with self-teaching, but again, I’ve had this issue in live classes due to class size or structure. I’ve had a professor who stated he didn’t want to take questions during his lecture, but would never leave enough time at the end of class to answer all questions, for example.

Professors still have office hours in online classes, and they still respond to emails. So while the student may not be in the presence of the professor, the student still has their attention.

And let’s not forget the positive aspects of the online delivery method, such as scheduling flexibility and 24/7 access to class materials. The benefits are very tangible. I can pause, rewind and rewatch parts of a lecture that I need more time internalizing.

Online classes also allow me to travel without fretting over missed coursework. In September, I will be attending a conference in Denver hosted by the State Policy Network—a network of free market think tanks in all fifty states.

On the one hand, I will completely miss a week in my brick-and-mortar class. But for my online class, I will miss a whole heap of nothing (so long as my luggage stays with me).

The flexibility of the online model will allow me to take advantage of a unique opportunity that will undoubtedly give added texture to my scholastic experience, while not skipping a beat in “the classroom.”

And that is the ultimate draw for many students: How can I intersect my academic goals with the rest of my life? Certainly the distance education approach isn’t perfect, but neither is the on-campus model.

As for me, the comfort and convenience of distance education trumps the classroom.

College Fix contributor Clark Connor is a student at North Carolina State University.

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Heads up, Wolfpack: A Twitter account is displaying snaps of passed out drunk North Carolina State students. Many have no clue that their mug may be among the images. WTVD in Raleigh reports:

The disturbing photos display many students face-down or half-dressed, many unaware it’s all being caught on camera.

Similar Twitter handles have popped up at college campuses across the country.

“I feel like it’s embarrassing,” said NCSU senior Jarami Bond. “We’re out here trying to get jobs and advance our careers. This is not a good way to portray yourself. Drinking on college campus shouldn’t be glorified.”

“I would be completely humiliated,” said NCSU graduate Joelle Purifoy.

NC State senior Drew Warash uploads pictures to the site weekly.

“I think it’s kind of funny,” said Warash.

Paul Cousins, Director of the Dept of Student Community Standards at NC State, says that the school doesn’t condone what Warash does, but it can’t take any action against him:

“It’s a hard lesson for them to learn that we don’t have control over the web. That’s not ours to manage, and by and large, the stuff that’s out there is free speech.”

Read the full story here.

h/t to Phi Beta Cons.

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Above the law?

The Carolina Plott Hound publisher Paul Chesser, a contributor to Watchdog.org, wonders what North Carolina State University is hiding in refusing to hand over documents sought through a public records request:

North Carolina State University officials denied two requests for public records about work performed by professors, claiming state law allows them to withhold the documents because the employees’ work was conducted in their roles as private consultants.CPH

The requests were turned down despite the fact that professor Robert Handfield, a professor of supply-chain management in NCSU’s Poole College of Management, used NCSU letterhead for correspondence with his client, also a government agency. His colleague, Michael Cobb, associate professor of political science in the NCSU School of International and Public Affairs, used his official NCSU email address to elicit correspondence for his project. …

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A North Carolina State University official’s claim that it’s losing opportunities for research contracts, owing to the state’s open-records law, is drawing skepticism both from inside and outside the school.

Some companies refuse to do business with NCSU because “we can’t promise them we can protect their information” under state law, Terri Lomax, vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic development, told WRAL News last week.

The law creates multiple exceptions to what information must be made publicly available. For example, trade secrets, personnel files and legal counsel communications to a public agency or board are exempt.

It’s not clear what action NCSU is planning to convince state lawmakers to revise the law to protect business information.

Chancellor Randy Woodson told the University of North Carolina system’s board of governors in February that the law caused NCSU to lose industry-sponsored research opportunities, but he hasn’t spoken publicly about it since and a university spokesman said it wasn’t “on the top burner” for him, according to WRAL.

Lomax, in contrast, said the school is mulling whether to “go out and form an outside nonprofit entity” to seek changes to the law.

Two or three companies a year decline to work with the school because of the open-records law – out of more than 1,000 that do work with the school each year – but those holdouts are big ones, Lomax said.

Quintiles had opted out of working with the veterinary school “a couple years ago,” Lomax said, but a Quintiles official told WRAL he wasn’t aware of any such discussions and that Quintiles had worked with another public agency, University of North Carolina Hospitals, with no records problem.

ncsu-centennial.NCSUNewsDept.FlickrGene Pinder, director of marketing and communications for NCSU’s Centennial Campus, the school’s research park, told The College Fix he was unaware of any company that has “inquired about or concerned themselves with the open records law” in relation to potential business with NCSU.

Pinder pointed to a Triangle Business Journal article from last year on NCSU’s partnership with Eastman Chemical, which included the unusual step of settling on intellectual property rights ahead of time. The Journal called it a “one-of-a-kind relationship” between Eastman, which invested $10 million in NCSU research, and the school.

Eastman’s Stewart Witzeman told WRAL that confidential information can be managed so that it’s not subject to open-records requests, including by simply not sharing some kinds of research with professors.

Lomax also told WRAL the North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) refused to do business with the university because of the open-records law. The company told WRAL it doesn’t “discuss contract negotiations.”

As a state-owned company, NCRR appears to already be covered by the open-records law. The governor and Legislature appoint all members of the board, and “The State of North Carolina is the sole owner of all common stock of the Company,” according to financial statements from 2011.

Jonathan Jones, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, told The College Fix that NCRR gets a “special exemption” under its own statute. It doesn’t have to reveal “information related to a proposed specific business transaction where inspection, examination, or copying of the records would frustrate the purpose for which the records were created,” or “information that is subject to confidentiality obligations of a railroad company.”

That NCSU “would cite a company that is itself subject to the public records law, and another that has done extensive research with other public agencies, as examples makes highly suspect the claim that the records law is hurting business,” Jones said.

University Relations Director Fred Hartman told The College Fix that Lomax was “simply making a comment [to WRAL] regarding circumstances that impact our ability to attract research partners for the benefit of enhancing academic programs and opportunities for students.”

College Fix contributor Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.

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IMAGES: Joshua Willis/Flickr, NCSU News Dept/Flickr

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