Dr. Ricardo Smith recent Ph.D. graduate featured in City Beat

Good news,


Dr. Ricardo Smith and his research is featured in this week’s City Beat. Although the article does not credit Union for his dissertation, it is good exposure for the important work Dr. Smith is doing. I really enjoyed meeting him and telling his story.

 In addition to the City Beat feature, he was profiled on our web and interviewed by a local radio station.

 Here is the link to City Beat http://npaper-wehaa.com/city-beat//#2015/06/03/?article=2527984&dpg=1&z=92


Here is the link to blog profile https://www.myunion.edu/spotlight-on-alumnus-dr-ricardo-y-smith/


Here is the link to his radio article http://wvxu.org/post/small-study-points-problems-local-prison-re-entry#stream/0

Spotlight on Alumnus Dr. Ricardo Y. Smith

Dr Ricardo Y Smith

What are the most critical issues facing post-prison African-American men in Hamilton and Butler counties?

Registering to vote

Alumnus Dr. Ricardo Y. Smith (Ph.D. 2014) gives voice to local men facing these issues in his 2014 doctoral dissertation, No Way Out: Giving Voice to the Post-Prison Experiences of African-American Men in Two Ohio Counties.

Dr. Ricardo Smith is a Gulf War Veteran (1990-1994), a distinguished honor graduate from the United States Army Signal School in Augusta, Georgia, and an adjunct instructor in psychology at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College. Dr. Smith spent three and a half years researching and two months interviewing 10 formerly incarcerated African American men from Hamilton and Butler counties. A critical interpretative analysis conducted through in-depth interviews that examined the post-prison lives of African American men, his study addressed the post-prison obstacles of ex-offenders as they struggled to find employment, housing, and registering to vote. Dr. Smith examined the problems and the impact of labeling prisoners and investigated the issues of prison debt and prison money-making plots. The policy restraints impacting the lives of ex-offenders (who usually come from targeted poor communities) are described as an apparatus of social control, particularly upon African-American men. He found that ex-offenders often experience a post-prison system of no way out that has become a type of social incarceration.

Dr. Smith’s research questions focused on the post-prison impact on the lived experiences of 10 African American men. His hope was to give voice to these men as they attempt to rebuild their lives after prison, particularly as it relates to two questions:

• When returning to communities where social barriers exist and persist, what barriers do the men recognize? To what extent do these barriers affect their lives post-prison?

• To what extent do the men recognize the impact of the criminal label (criminal for life) on their lives post-prison? How does this label affect them when they are seeking employment, permanent housing, and trying to vote?

Dr. Smith hopes that scholars can better understand the dynamics of what it means to (re)live life post-prison. His recommendations for future research include the necessity to examine how and why the lack of employment remains the number one problem for returning citizens after prison. The men he interviewed returned to communities where jobs and housing remain scarce. If the returning citizen does not go to a halfway house or have family housing support, there are very few housing options through public assistance. Not being able to find housing or employment has been shown to lead to significant relapse implications and high probable rates of recidivism.

Dr. Smith points out that the ethnic minority prison population continues to rise. As a people, African Americans make up less than 15 percent of the U.S. population but almost 43 percent of the U.S. prison population. Are African Americans more criminal? Dr. Smith says the answer is no, but does answer yes to the fact that black persons are convicted and sent to prison statistically more often than other ethnic groups, particularly for federal drug convictions. He sees it as a racialized mechanism of incarceration that has produced a major social problem for young black teens and men.

More research is needed to evaluate and gauge the success of reentry and reintegration. Without statistics and stories to measure work and housing efficacy of ex-offenders, how can reintegration or rehabilitation be effective in terms of successful reentry? Without a permanent address, being registered to vote becomes another barrier of reintegration. Dr. Smith explains that ex-offenders need a second chance to redeem themselves and become contributing citizens in society. First steps of viable employment, housing, and the opportunity to vote will give the returning citizen a chance of true reintegration into the community. Reinvestment in people will increase public safety and reduce recidivism for the collective betterment of society and all communities.

In addition to his 2014 Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Union Institute & University, Dr. Smith holds a master’s degree in Human Relations (Applied Psychology) from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Smith’s dissertation about post-prison experiences of African Americans was featured on WVXU radio in Cincinnati in April 2015.

Learn more about Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program.



Penumbra, Issue 2 Now Live!


I am happy to announce the publication of the second issue of Penumbra, the journal of the PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies program at the Union Institute & University. Visit http://unionpenumbra.org/ to read critical and creative works aligned with our mission to publish socially engaged innovative, creative, and critical scholarship, with a focus on ethical, political, and aesthetic issues in the humanities, public policy, and leadership.


Penumbra is currently accepting Reviewers and Submitters of scholarly and creative works. If you are interested in getting involved, please register yourself with the journal’s management system located here: http://journal.myunion.edu/index.php/penumbra/login


Our regards,


Gariot P. Louima (Cohort 12)


Penumbra: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Critical and Creative Inquiry

Special Residency Event – The Scholarship of Toni A. Gregory: A Discussion of “Leading with Integral Diversity Maturity: Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela”


 The Scholarship of Toni A. Gregory: A Discussion of “Leading with Integral Diversity Maturity: Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela”         

 When: Wednesday, July 10, 2013; 2:00 – 4:00 PM

Where: Marriott Kingsgate – Room Amp II

 All interested students and faculty are cordially invited to participate in an hour-long discussion of the forthcoming book chapter, “Leading with Integral Diversity Maturity: Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela” (2013), by Toni A. Gregory and Michael A. Raffanti.

 Following the discussion, co-author Michael Raffanti will join the group to discuss the genesis and process of this collaborative project.

 In a 2010 review of a conference presentation that provided the basis for “Leading with Integral Diversity Maturity,” UI&U graduate Jeannie Carlisle Volckmann elucidates:

               Toni A. Gregory & Michael A. Raffanti…develop a framework, Integral Diversity Maturity (IDM), by drawing heavily from the work of Roosevelt Thomas and his concept of “diversity tension,” as well as Ken Wilber’s AQAL model of interpretation. This tension existed both for Mandela and Malcolm X (as well as millions of others acted upon by the oppression of racism). Yet through a   process of personal reflection and responding and reacting to the diversity tension,   Mandela and Malcolm X gained a ‘clarity’ about the nature of the tension. This clarity, or ‘maturity,’ allowed both men to accommodate new, expansive, and productive ways of relating to self and interacting with the world as a whole.”  (“Notes from the Field,” Integral Leadership Review 10.4 [2010]: 2)  

Please contact Karsten Piep via email (karsten.piep@myunion.edu) to obtain an electronic advance copy of “Leading with Integral Diversity Maturity: Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela.”       


Selection of Faculty Publications and Presentations: Spring 2013

Union Institute & University
Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies

Selection of Faculty Publications and Presentations: Spring 2013

Golden, Elden. “Creativity as a Televised Spectator Sport: What the Reality Competition Show Chopped Tells Us About Creativity.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Annual Conference. Washington, DC. March 2013.

Marubbio, Elise M. and Eric L. Buffalohead, eds. Native Americans on Film: Conversations,Teaching, and Theory. Lexington, KY: UP of Kentucky, 2013.

—. “Wrestling the Greased Pig: An Interview with Randy Redroad.” Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory. Eds. M. Elise Marubbio and Eric L. Buffalohead. Lexington, KY: UP of Kentucky, 2013. 288-302.

Melina, Lois Ruskai, Gloria J. Burgess, Lena Lid Falkman, and Antonio Marturano, eds. The Embodiment of Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2013. Forthcoming.

O’Brien, Colleen. “Paternal Solicitude and Haitian Emigration: The First American Occupation (1816-1864).” South Central Review 30.1 (2013): Forthcoming.

Piep, Karsten. “Business as Usual: Re-Domesticating the New Woman in Henry Sydnor Harrison’s Saint Teresa.” The Latchkey: A Journal of New Woman Studies 5.1 (2013):Forthcoming.

—. “The Nature of Compassionate Orientalism in Elisabeth Gaskell’s Cranford.” Panel: “Reading Nature in Fiction.” College English Association National Convention. Savannah, GA. April 2013.

Shook, John. “With Liberty and Justice for All.” The Humanist: A Magazine for Critical Inquiry and Social Concern 73.1 (2013): 21-24.

Stilger, Robert. “Servant Leadership: Research and Practice.” Servant Leadership: Research and Practice. Eds. Raj Selladurai and Shawn Carraher. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2013. Forthcoming.

Voparil, Christopher. “Democratic Justice and the Problem of Framing: Fraser, Addams, and Rorty.” Panel:”Pragmatism and Justice.” Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. Galloway, NJ: March 2013.

—. “Pragmatist Philosophy and Persuasive Discourse: Dewey and Rorty on the Role of Non-Logical Changes in Belief.” Persuasion and Compulsion in Democracy. Ed. Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley and Krzysztof Poitr Skowronski. New York: Lexington Books, 2013. 133-151.

Whitfield, David. “Leadership and Foresight in a Changing and Challenging World: A Call for Servant Leadership.” The International Journal of Servant-Leadership 7.1 (2013): 123-39.

News from ECL

Congratulations to David Holzmer, student in the ECL concentration, whose submission “Leadership in the Time of Liminality” was selected for inclusion in the next volume of the International Leadership Association’s series, Building Leadership Bridges: The Embodiment of Leadership. David’s essay was one of 12 selected out of nearly 80 submissions. The book will be published by Jossey-Bass in the spring of 2013.

Congratulations also to Jeanne Marie Sutherland, PhD candidate in the ECL concentration, whose paper, “Mythopoetic Leadership,” was accepted for presentation at the International Leadership Association conference in Denver this October as part of the panel, “Leadership and the Fictional Divide: Leadership in Contemporary Literature and Film.”

ILA is one of the leading international academic/professional organizations in the field of leadership.

“Climbing a Great Hill…” published in International Journal of Diversity…

We are pleased to announce that “Climbing a Great Hill”: The Process of Integral Diversity Maturity Illustrated in Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography Long Walk to Freedom (see PDF version here), co-authored by Dr. Toni Gregory and Michael Raffanti, has recently been published in the International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations. Congratulations, Toni!

Latest Books by Tony Kashani

A message from Dr. Kashani:

Dear Colleagues,

Just wanted to inform everyone that my book, Hollywood’s Exploited: Public Pedagogy, Corporate Movies, and Cultural Crisis is now also available in paperback.

Hollywood’s Exploited
Frymer; Benjamin; Kashani; Tony; Nocella  |  ISBN13: 9780230623590
RRP: $43.00  Paperback  Publication date: 2012/03  Palgrave Macmillan USA

This book provides an interdisciplinary and collaborative anthology that seeks to make a compelling and exciting analysis of contemporary Hollywood film texts (and the larger industry and society to which they are dialectically related) in light of Giroux’s ideas about public pedagogy.

My other book, Lost in Media: Ethics of Everyday Life will soon be in press… (David Ingram has agreed to write the preface!!!) It should be on the shelves Summer of 2012. I’ll send links for that for everyone, when available. Pass the word around. Thank you for your support 🙂