Spreading the word on sustainable development

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Bad roads are a longstanding problem across Nigeria, blamed for high rates of vehicle fatalities and impeding development of Africa’s largest economy.Hadiza Hamma wants to help with this, and to teach others in her home country how to take on community-improvement projects.The first student to complete the master’s degree requirements for the Division of Continuing Education’s new Development Practice Program, and one of only four who will receive it this month, Hamma also won the Dean’s Prize for her capstone project, a community-development plan for construction of a road that will dramatically improve the quality of life in the town of Afaka.“The road is a lifeline for the community because it connects the community to the rest of the city,” said Hamma. In its current poor condition, she said, the road is a health and safety risk, prone to recurring accidents as well as dust (during the dry season) and flooding, which is aggravated by poor drainage, among other factors.The practical experience will enable Hamma to teach sustainable development from a multidisciplinary perspective at the University of Abuja, where she a senior lecturer.The road project, sponsored by Aflac Plastics Ltd., a private company in north central Nigeria, will enable safer, easier trade. “This will improve the socio-economic life of the people and engender peaceful co-existence between the community and the company,” Hamma said.Such an outside-the-box, public-private collaboration is just what the Development Practice Program is designed to foster. “When we started the program, we were thinking in terms of global development practice, with strong human health and well-being and sustainability components,” said program director Thomas P. Gloria.Developed to empower mid-career professionals to tackle the multidimensional challenges of sustainable development, from climate change and poverty to gender inequality and access to sanitation and clean water, the program seeks to “leverage local knowledge through global practice,” said Gloria. With her focus on enabling economic empowerment and resilience of women as well as her commitment to life-long learning, “Hadiza has become the personification of our program,” he said.That Hamma, a lawyer and academic, earned this degree while teaching full time at her alma mater, the University of Abuja, and raising three children suggests she already had superior management skills. However, Hamma said the program gave her hands-on experience with the step-by-step planning necessary to get such a project off the ground. “I just want to open my eyes and see myself in Widener Library right now. And I want to visit the Harvard Coop, all over again.” — Hadiza Hamma “In class, we students operated as a consulting firm,” she said, noting the leadership of William O’Brien, an associate professor of the practice at Clark University who also serves as instructor-adviser for the Extension School class. O’Brien acted as the student firm’s “managing partner.” The class had to master the practicalities of development planning, such as risk assessment and mitigation, stakeholder engagement and funding, and identifying milestones as key performance indicators. “We had working sessions where we discussed each consultant’s research and progress and obtained feedback from the rest of the consultants,” Hamma said. This resulted in “the final deliverable,” the community development plan.Hamma said the practical experience will enable her to teach sustainable development from a multidisciplinary perspective. “That is, to be able to blend my law background with the science, economics, and social aspects of development,” she said.“Before, I’d think, ‘There’s a problem. The government should do something about it,’” said Hamma. “Now I can work on it. I can get my students to come together and engage on issues of social responsibility.”Hamma began her own journey toward a degree in the summer of 2017. Originally intending to pursue a certificate program, she enrolled in two of the four required courses. “I wanted to do short courses because I thought it will be difficult to cope with starting a new degree,” she said. Very soon, she realized that she wanted more — and that she wanted to pursue a degree.“I fell in love with the program,” she said. “In such a very little time I learned so much more than I thought I could learn in such a short while.”While Hamma was able to come to campus last summer, she fulfilled the remainder of her degree requirements online. Despite the restrictions of online learning — including, in her case, a five-hour time difference — she found the process as engaging as in-person classes.“I was surprised to find out how easy and convenient it was to do online learning,” she said. Materials were easily downloadable, and the fact that lectures were recorded allowed her to view them on her own schedule — and rewatch them as she pleased.Engaging in live discussions and collaborating on projects, she said, “I’d get so engrossed I’d forget I was in my house.”Hamma said she is disappointed about missing Commencement on campus [which has since been postponed following the outbreak of COVID-19], but she hopes to be able to make the trip back sometime soon. “I just want to open my eyes and see myself in Widener Library right now,” she said. “And I want to visit the Harvard Coop, all over again.”last_img read more

Germany go to WC atop FIFA rankings

first_imgPARIS, June 7: Defending champions Germany will have the psychological advantage of going to the Russian World Cup finals sitting atop the FIFA rankings.The Germans are in good shape heading to Russia after their talismanic goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, a key player in their 2014 victory, returned to action after a long absence through injury.Neymar’s on-form five-time World Cup winners Brazil are second, multi-talented Belgium are third, Cristiano Ronaldo’s European champions Portugal fourth and Lionel Messi’s Argentina are fifth.British bookmakers would agree with the top two as they make Germany and Brazil joint World Cup favourites at odds of five to one followed by Spain, France and Argentina.World Cup host nation Russia meanwhile slide to 70th position after a seven-game winless streak. They kick off the tournament against Saudi Arabia on June 14. IANSlast_img read more

USC Bookstore sets record with tablet sales last year

first_imgThe USC Pertusati Bookstore reported Friday that it had the largest number of iPad sales across college campuses nationwide with sales reaching an all-time high of $12 million last year.Director of USC Bookstores Dan Archer attributes the increased tablet computer sales to Apple’s release of the iPad 2 last March.“Sales of other tablets are miniscule,” Archer said. “Apple products are a majority of everything sold [at USC]. This has always been an Apple campus, even going back in the ‘90s.”Students are using tablets in the classroom and for fun, Archer said.“Tablets are such a convenient tool to use,” Archer said. “You can pull up stats while watching sports, surf the web or take notes in class.”Lillian But, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said tablet computers’ note-taking capabilities are particularly helpful for college students.“Tablets are great because they allow you to write directly on the screen,” But said. “I see students drawing graphs on their iPads during science lectures.”The Marshall School of Business also found that handwritten notes are a more convenient method than notes taken on tablets, according to Archer.“The Marshall School of Business found that the iPad was cumbersome in the classroom because lecturers talked too quickly for students to take notes on tablets,” Archer said.According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Excellence in Journalism project, 11 percent of American adults now own some form of a tablet computer. Of these tablet owners, 77 percent reports using the technology on a daily basis, spending an average of 90 minutes per day on them.ZDNet, a business technology website, also conducted a survey that revealed 16 percent of mobile customers have purchased a tablet computer and another 41 percent plan to buy a tablet in the next 12 months.The increase in tablet sales also comes at a time when eBook availability has risen. Though few textbooks are available electronically, other types of books on syllabuses are often available online.“Many eBooks are now available for course material,” Archer said. “EBook sales are still small in comparison to overall course material sales, but inevitably course material is going to go in the direction of eBooks.”Nicholas Kosturos, a freshman majoring in political science, said he tries to download as many eBooks as he can for his classes.“Not only are eBooks cheaper, but using eBooks is also more convenient and more green,” Kosturos said. “An eBook gives you way more tools, like the dictionary, and it can be downloaded on any device you own.”Still, some students prefer physical copies of books, even when electronic ones are available. Vincci Lau, a freshman majoring in international relations, said she prefers using tangible rather than electronic course material.“Not having an actual book in my hands takes away the authenticity of the reading experience,” Lau said.Archer said tablets illustrate how technology is revolutionizing the sharing of information in an academic and personal setting.“The streamline use of technology to disseminate info will keep being used, but the device itself will forever be changing,” Archer said. “Tablets are all over the place right now, but something else will pop up.”last_img read more