North Central News

North Central College experts provide insight on history, health, social issues and more

By Kelly Murphy

Mar 31, 2021

North Central College’s subject-matter experts continue to provide timely and insightful analysis on current events and issues that affect the entire Cardinal community. In March, local and national media alike looked to North Central faculty for their views on gender and age in the workplace, social awareness, health, and history. Here is a recap of what they found:

Dr. Rhetta Standifer discusses generational and age diversity in the workplace in The Chronicle of Higher Education

A higher education workforce today can easily encompass four, or even five, generations. Even though the oldest and youngest are sparsely represented now, such a generational span—as people live and work longer—signifies an unusual time in the history of work. And while research on generational challenges in the higher education workplace is limited, there is more information available on the impact on the workplace in general.  

Research has found that generational differences are far more often perceived than real; nonetheless, if people think there are real distinctions, they will still make assumptions that can hamper workplace relationships.

Dr. Rhetta Standifer, associate professor of management, interviewed with The Chronicle of Higher Education, where she addressed the generational similarities and differences of values at work, such as preferred forms of communication, teamwork, security, recognition, autonomy, and fun.

“We had subject tell us what they personally valued, but then had them go through three different iterations— ‘this is what I think a millennial would think, this is what I think a boomer would think, and this is what a Gen Y-er would think,” said Standifer. “By far the generations are much more similar to each other than different. They all had the same core values, but their perceptions of each other differed widely.”

Click here to read the full article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Ann Keating shares historical perspective on sale of Catherine O’Leary’s Chicago mansion in The New York Times

Like the legend that Catherine O’Leary’s cow started the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, historians question the story behind the home that was built for her, or that she ever lived there. In recent weeks, the 6,270-square-foot, four-story Englewood mansion has been placed on the market. According to a Chicago real estate agent, the 12-bed, five-and-a-half bath property has original woodwork was allegedly built by James O’Leary to honor his mother.

Ann Keating, Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History, was interviewed by the New York Times where she shared her Chicago historical expertise; citing the myth of Catherine O’Leary’s cow’s fateful lantern kick and the unlikelihood of her living in the mansion given the time period. However, the question remains as to where the cow story started.

Dr. Keating shared the cow story caught on because of anti-Irish and anti-immigrant sentiment—and it all started with a rogue reporter. More than 20 years after the fire, Michael Ahern, who at the time was a reporter for The Chicago Republican, admitted that he had concocted the cow tale because it made for a better story. His story had not implicated Mrs. O’Leary by name, but Dr. Keating said Catherine O’Leary—an Irish immigrant—was an all-too-convenient scapegoat.

“Within 48 hours, they’re blaming the O’Learys for this,” said Dr. Keating. “Mrs. O’Leary in particular. They were looking for a scapegoat, and she was Irish and a woman.”

Click here to read the full interview in the New York Times.

Dr. Steve Macek analyzes why six Dr. Seuss books won't be published anymore on WGN News

Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published because they "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," according to the business that preserves the author's legacy. Dr. Seuss Enterprises is addressing the racist and insensitive illustrations that are portrayed across the works of the late children’s author Theodor Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss.

The company announced on Tuesday, March 2, which would’ve been Seuss’ 117th birthday, that the following titles will be discontinued: "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," "If I Ran the Zoo," "McElligot’s Pool," "On Beyond Zebra!," "Scrambled Eggs Super!," and "The Cat’s Quizzer."

Dr. Steve Macek, chair and professor of communication, was interviewed by WGN News on these titles being pulled from the marketplace.

“We have known about these images for a long time,” said Dr. Macek. “Theodor Geisel was an editorial cartoonist for liberal newspaper in New York during the World War II. He produced a whole series on anti-Japanese editorial cartoons that were incredibly racist. You can see traces of the racist caricature throughout the titles that are being removed.

“So, we have known about this for a long time. It doesn’t surprise me media companies, especially media companies that specialize in products for children often practice prophylactic or preventative self-censorship and we’re living in a period where there’s a lot of heightened awareness of racism and white supremacy. So, I think they did the right thing by pulling these books from publication.”

Click here to watch the full interview on WGN News.

Dr. Ashwani Garg discusses herbal medicine and dietary supplements—the good, bad and ugly—on Edward-Elmhurst Health’s ‘Health 360 with Dr. G’ podcast

Diet culture and overall wellness trends have been on the rise in recent decades. More than half of adults in the U.S. have reporter using supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc. But, are they good for you to consume? Does complementary and alternative medicine help cure diseases? Are multivitamins good or necessary for you to consume?

Dr. Ashwani Garg, medical director and clinical associate professor of physician assistant studies, was interviewed on Edward-Elmhurst Health’s “Health 360 with Dr. G” podcast, where he discussed common herbal remedies, dietary supplements and alternative treatments and provided insights on how they can support wellness.

“As far as integrated medicine goes, many people find it not to be as profitable as they had hoped,” said Dr. Garg. “With integrated medicine there is a core that overlaps with lifestyle, which is low cost and high impact, and on some level, [people] can incorporate some herbal medicines to coincide with that.”

Click here to listen to the full podcast on Edward-Elmhurst Health’s website.