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Faculty and Staff Earn IAS Research and Creative Collaboratives Awards

Students harvesting seeds
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
March 26, 2018

Five University of Minnesota, Morris faculty, staff, and alumni earned University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) Research and Creative Collaboratives awards. Representing some of the most innovative work at the University, these self-initiated groups come together with the idea of working on a project of common interest.

Reviving the Gendered Ethics Debate: The Case of Agonism, $7,512

Dan Demetriou, associate professor of philosophy, UMM; (Max) Hui Bai, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, UMTC; and Aliaksandr Kachan '16, Department of Psychology, Education and Human Service Professions, UMD

This IAS Collaborative spans three UMN campuses and two disciplines to facilitate collaborative research on gender, agonism, and moral psychology. Since Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice (1982), psychologists have debated the reality and nature of gender differences in moral reasoning. Whereas most studies have tested for gender differences on the dimensions of "justice" and "care," this collaborative introduces competitive ("agonistic") norms into the discussion. These norms, which stress competitiveness but prohibit bullying, unfair play, and disrespecting opponents, are increasingly recognized as "moral" norms by ethicists. This new development in ethics hasn't yet been accounted for by empirical psychologists studying gender differences in "moral" reasoning, and the collaborative wishes to close that gap.

This collaborative will workshop reports of findings and present work to faculty and students at UMM, UMTC, and UMD. It will afford the team an opportunity to bring in a notable moral psychologist who will advise it on its research and give a public talk on a related topic.

Food Sovereignty and Student Success, $10,599

Amy Mondloch, Center for Small Towns; Mary Jo Forbord, Morris Health Eating; Alex Kmett '13, Student Affairs; Ryan Pesch, MNEXT Community Vitality; UMN Extension

UMM's Center for Small Towns seeks to establish a research collaborative among faculty and staff at UMM, UMN Extension, and nonprofit and tribal college partners. The goals of the collaborative are to increase understanding of Native food sovereignty and to build access, skills, and partnerships supporting physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. The rights of indigenous nations to define their own diets and to shape food systems that are congruent with their spiritual and cultural values go hand-in-hand with physical, mental, and emotional health. Increased understanding of Native food sovereignty, including seed saving, food preparation and storage, gardening, and the socio-cultural and historical importance of food harvest and preparation methods will provide a stronger sense of place and wellbeing for Native and non-Native students and provide tools to support physical, mental, and emotional health.

The collaborative will provide three field trips for students, faculty, and staff to exchange ideas and experiences with partners in Dakota and Ojibwe nations as well as four opportunities to host public presentations on campus. The team anticipates it will generate additional research projects that will benefit and engage Native and non-Native communities throughout the region.

About IAS Collaboratives

Since its inception in 2005, the Institute for Advanced Study has supported and encouraged interdisciplinary and collaborative work, creating intellectual community across and beyond the boundaries of the University. More information is available at