White Paper on Education Policy: edTPA in Connecticut

Confronting the edTPA in Connecticut:
Recommendations for Teacher Candidate Quality, Sustainability, and Empowerment

Co-authored by UConn faculty Cara Bernard, Douglas Kaufman, Mark Kohan, and Dodd Center Director Glenn Mitoma, the policy paper, Confronting the edTPA in Connecticut: Recommendations for Teacher Candidate Quality, Sustainability, and Empowerment, presents concerns and recommendations regarding the state’s adoption of the edTPA teacher candidate assessment.  Based on a program evaluation conducted with students, faculty, and cooperating teachers in the University of Connecticut’s teacher education program, the paper documents the experiences of participants and impacts of the implementation of edTPA.

The paper finds the concerns with the diminishment of candidate learning, the perpetuation of inequitable systems, and application of developmentally inappropriate standards that are concomitant with the implementation of edTPA.

Given these concerns and impacts, the report recommends policymakers suspend the current planned implementation of the edTPA in Connecticut and work collaboratively with stakeholders in the state to develop a teacher candidate assessment that is developmentally appropriate for teacher candidates,  flexibly evaluates candidate in the range of teacher education programs in Connecticut, and supports the state’s goal of recruiting more minority teachers.


Apr. 9, 2019 – Malka Penn Award Ceremony

Join us as we present the

Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature


Veera Hiranandani

for her book

The Night Diary

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
4:00pm – 5:30pm
Konover Auditorium
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center


The Night Diary CoverThe Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani is set during one of the most tumultuous events in human history, the 1947 Partition of India, when that newly independent country was split in two: predominantly Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India.  Twelve year old Nisha feels split as well. Her deceased mother was Muslim, her father is Hindu. It’s become unsafe for her family to remain in their home, which overnight has turned into Pakistan. They must make a dangerous journey across the border into the new India.  Nisha relates the terrors and hardships of the journey, as well as the ups and downs of everyday life, through a series of letters she writes to her mother in her diary, the only place she feels safe enough to fully express her feelings.  As chaos swirls around Nisha, she ponders fundamental questions: why can’t people of different religions get along? Why is there so much hate and suffering? And, most of all, where is home?  Nisha documents her fears and hopes in her diary as she searches for her true home within herself and her family. Slowly, she reaches out to others in friendship, perhaps the only way to confront hate – with love.



Veera HirananadaniIn addition to The Night Diary (Kokila), ​Veera Hiranandani is author of The Whole Story of Half a Girl (Yearling), which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist, and the chapter book series, Phoebe G. Green (Grosset & Dunlap). She earned her MFA in fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College. A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute and is working on her next novel.

The Malka Penn Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding children’s book addressing human rights issues or themes, such as discrimination, equity, poverty, justice, war, peace, slavery or freedom.  Within these larger themes, the award committee is particularly eager to recognize stories about individuals – real or fictional, children or adults – who have been affected by social injustices, and who, by confronting them, have made a difference in their lives or the lives of others.

The award is named in honor of author Michele Palmer, whose generous gift helped to establish the award.  Ms. Palmer has written over a dozen books for children and adults, including three children’s books under the pseudonym Malka Penn (The Miracle of the Potato Latkes, The Hanukkah Ghosts, and Ghosts and Golems).  Ms. Palmer has also curated numerous art, book, and history exhibits at UConn and elsewhere. One of her exhibits at the Dodd Center – “After Anne Frank: Children’s Books About the Holocaust” – led to her establishing the Malka Penn Collection of Children’s Books on Human Rights in the Archives and Special Collections at the Dodd Center.

Mar. 17, 2019 – Statement from the Director

March 17, 2019

A message from the Directors of
the Asian American Cultural Center,
the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life,
the Human Rights Institute,
and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

The horrific attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch have left us heartbroken.  We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families, the people of New Zealand, and our Muslim neighbors here and around the world.  We stand against the malignant forces and repugnant ideologies of white supremacy, Islamophobia, and ethno-nationalism, which appear to have incubated and catalyzed this crime.

That many of those who worshiped at these mosques had fled violence and persecution in their home countries deepens the sorrow we feel for this tragedy.  That they sought asylum and were welcomed to New Zealand by Muslims and non-Muslims alike heartens us with hope that the community of Christchurch will respond to hatred and division with love and unity.

The people of the United States and Connecticut are all too familiar with such senseless acts of violence, and our hearts go out to our Kiwi friends as they begin to reflect and rebuild.  As directors of programs at UConn rooted in a commitment to the fundamental human rights of all people, we pledge to continue our efforts to address violent racism, bigotry, and Islamophobia, and join President Herbst in rededicating ourselves to building “a world where all people can live together in peace.”

Glenn Mitoma
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Angela Rola
Asian American Cultural Center

Sebastian Wogenstein
Interim Director
Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life

Stuart Miller
Academic Director
Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life

Kathy Libal
Human Rights Institute

Molly Land
Associate Director
Human Rights Institute

Mar. 27, 2019: Dangerous Speech Project

Dangerous Speech Project Logo

Dangerous Speech and What to Do About It:
Fear and Loathing in Our Discourse

Dr. Cathy Buerger, Dangerous Speech Project

Wednesday, March 27, 2018

Konover Auditorium

Dr. Cathy Buerger

No one is born hating or fearing other people. That has to be taught – and those harmful lessons seem to be similar, though they’re given in highly disparate cultures, languages, and places. Leaders around the world use particular kinds of rhetoric to turn groups of people violently against one another. But this rhetoric is, of course, nothing new. The vocabulary varies, but the same themes recur: members of other groups are depicted as threats so serious that violence against them comes to seem acceptable or even necessary. In this talk, drawing from both historical and contemporary examples, Dr. Cathy Buerger will outline a framework for identifying Dangerous Speech – any form of expression that can increase the risk that its audience will condone or commit violence against members of another group. The lecture will conclude with a discussion of productive responses to dangerous and otherwise harmful speech.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Post-Presentation Focus Group
12:30pm – 1:30pm
Room 162

Join us following Dr. Buerger’s presentation for a focus group discussion designed to inform the Dangerous Speech Project’s efforts in developing educational resources.  Participants will provide feedback on key elements of the presentation and resources, and consider strategies for educational impact.  Lunch will be provided.

To RSVP for the focus group, please complete the form below or email doddcenter@uconn.edu.

Mar. 8 – Apr. 8, 2019: Women of York – Shared Dining

Shared Dining Table


On Exhibit: March 8 through April 5, 2019

Opening Reception: March 8, 6pm-8pm

Charter Oak Cultural Center
21 Charter Oak Ave.
Hartford, CT 06106



A group of ten women incarcerated at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut, calling themselves “Women of York,” produced this work of art inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. Shared Dining echoes the structure of The Dinner Party, with entry banners and place settings, each composed of a plate, chalice, and runner dedicated to a woman of personal significance to the artist. Reflecting on the enduring power of Chicago’s iconic masterwork, the installation celebrates women’s historical achievements and acknowledges the continuing impact of feminism in the twenty-first century.

The artists have responded to the constraints of producing work within a correctional institution by repurposing pedestrian materials, playing on historical craft-based associations of art made by women. The table is accompanied by audio recordings of each artist describing her place setting and its meaning. An act of determined self-representation, Shared Dining uses individual narratives to raise critical questions about politics, gender, and incarceration.

Works include:
Feminine Energy by Kelly
Eve by Shannon
The Mother (Virgin Mary) by Yajaira
Juliet by Chasity
Lena by Tricia
Phyllis Porter by Lisette
Princess Diana by Panna
Rainy by Shaquima
Danica Patrick by Cara
Malala Yousafzai by Tracie

Exhibition copy courtesy of Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Susan Meiselas.

The exhibition is on loan from the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation through the sponsorship of the Charter Oak Cultural Center and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut in partnership with Hartford Public Library and the States of Incarceration traveling exhibit.

The Shared Dining artwork was facilitated by Elizabeth Sackler, Founder and Rebekah Tafel, Director of Programs for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation with the assistance of Joseph Lea, Library Media Specialist (retired) at York Correctional Institution.

Catherine Muther and Susan Meiselas documented this project through the support of the Three Guineas Fund which resulted in the creation of the Shared Dining catalog, digital and audio files of the artwork and artists’ statements which will all be on display along with the exhibit.

The exhibit was organized by Joseph Lea, Donna Berman, Donna Gerrard, Nana Amos and Glenn Mitoma.

Shared Dining has been exhibited at the CT Prison Arts Show at University of Hartford, Hartford, CT (2014), The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (2015), the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD (2016), and The Maier Museum at Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA (2017)

Mar. 25, 2019 Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor: A Conversation with Yossi Klein Halevi and Ghaith Al-Omari

Monday, March 25 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
UConn Storrs Campus | Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center is located at 405 Babbidge Road.
Paid parking is available in the South Garage at 505 Jim Calhoun Way.

Join us for a fascinating and important conversation about the relationship between
Israelis and Palestinians with bestselling Israeli author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi and
former Palestinian Authority advisor Ghaith Al-Omari.

Free and open to the public

Registration is closed

Yossi Klein Halevi is the author most recently of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, a heartfelt plea for peace and new dialogue based on common ground in faith, a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Times of Israel and many more.

Ghaith Al-Omari is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Mideast Policy and non-resident fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine who served as a high-level advisor in the Palestinian Authority.

Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs and Professor of Geography at the University of Connecticut, will moderate the conversation, which will include a Q&A.

This program is co-presented by UConn Global Affairs, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, UConn Hillel, The Nachshon Project, the Shalom Hartman Institute, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, and the World Affairs Council of Connecticut.

Mar. 14, 2019 – Teaching Genocide with Film Workshop

Teaching Genocide with Film
Educator Workshop

March 14, 2019
3:00pm - 4:30pm

followed by a special preview and discussion of
The Trial of Ratko Mladic
5:00pm - 7:00pm

Join us for a workshop exploring the challenges and opportunities of teaching genocide with film.  Designed for both high school and college educators, this workshop will examine why and how to use both feature and documentary films to spur deep learning about one of the difficult subjects in any curriculum.  Participants will reflect on what it means to teach "difficult histories", consider how film can be effectively deployed in different classrooms settings, and explore examples of specific strategies and films.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants are invited to a special preview of the new documentary The Trial of Ratko Mladic.




Alan Marcus

Alan Marcus is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and is a University of Connecticut Teaching Fellow. His research and teaching focus on social studies education and teacher education. He specializes in museum education and teaching with film, with an emphasis on studying World War II and the Holocaust.  He is a co-author of Teaching History with Film: Strategies for Secondary Social Studies (Routledge, 2010), and co-editor of Teaching Difficult History Through Film (Routledge, 2017).

Glenn Mitoma

Glenn Mitoma is an Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education, jointly appointed with the Human Rights Institute and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.  He is also Director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.  Glenn’s scholarship has focused on the history of human rights and human rights education.  He is author of Human Rights and the Negotiation of American Power (University of Pennsylvania, 2013) and “A Difficult Past for a Better Future: Teaching About, For, and Through Human Rights with Film” in Teaching Difficult History Through Film.



This workshop is offered in conjunction with a Symposium on International Justice which brings together varied stakeholders, scholars, and expert to examine the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as an exemplar of the possibilities and limits of the quest for justice in the face of crimes against humanity and genocide.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit humanrights.uconn.edu.

Feb. 20, 2019: In the Crosshairs

Dispatches from Central America, 1983-1990

Photographs & Reports by Scott Wallace

On Exhibit at the Dodd Center

February 15 – March 15, 2019

This exhibition of frontline photography and war reporting by UConn journalism professor Scott Wallace opens on Friday, Feb. 15 at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

The exhibition brings together the photography and field reports of Wallace during the years he spent as a reporter in the war zones of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala in the 1980s and includes color and black & white photographs from the frontlines of those countries, text panels, audio and multimedia clips, equipment, posters and other artifacts from the era.


Covering the Wars in Central America: Then & Now
Panel Discussion Featuring
Jon Lee Anderson
Robert Nickelsberg
Scott Wallace

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
4:00pm – 6:00pm

Konover Auditorium

Join award winning journalists Jon Lee Anderson, Robert Nickelsberg and Scott Wallace as they discuss their experiences covering conflict and politics in Central America during the 1980s, and what that means for us today.


Jon Lee Anderson is a contributor to The New Yorker. Since 1998, he has covered numerous conflicts for the magazine, including those in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Angola, Somalia, Sudan, Mali, and Liberia. He has also reported frequently from Latin America and the Caribbean, writing about Rio de Janeiro’s gangs, the Panama Canal, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and a Caracas slum, among other subjects, and has written Profiles of Augusto Pinochet, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, and Gabriel García Márquez.
Robert Nickelsberg worked as a TIME magazine contract photographer for nearly thirty years, specializing in political and cultural change in developing countries, covering Central and South America and the conflicts taking place there in the mid 1980s.
Scott Wallace is Associate Professor of Journalism at UConn and is a writer, photographer, broadcast journalist and public speaker who covers the environment, vanishing cultures, and  conflict over land and resources in the world’s volatile frontier regions. He is a former Central America correspondent for CBS News, Newsweek, and the Guardian.

Co-Sponsored by
Archives & Special Collections
College of Liberal Arts and Science
El Instituto
Global Affairs
Humanities Institute
Human Rights Institute
Journalism Department
Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center


Feb. 19, 2019 – Life on Parole

screening & discussion

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
6:00pm – 8:00pm

Konover Auditorium
Dodd Center

Join us for a special screening of the PBS Frontline/New York Times documentary Life on Parole.  The film examines efforts in Connecticut to change the way parole works and reduce the number of people returning to prison.  The film follows four recently incarcerated individuals as they navigate their first year on parole.

Post-show discussion with Daryl McGraw, a former parolee who now works with people in recovery, Andrew Clark, Director of the Institute for Municipal Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University, as well as other guests.

Co-sponsored by
Community Outreach
Human Rights Institute
Humanities Institute
The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

A Message from the Director, Oct. 29, 2018

A message from the Directors of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Human Rights Institute, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

We are deeply saddened by the murder of eleven congregants at the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and we condemn the antisemitism, racism, and hatred of refugees and migrants that motivated this and similar acts of terror.We are appalled and outraged by the recent surge of politically motivated violence aimed at prominent critics of President Donald Trump.  As scholars of human rights and directors of programs with ties to some of the individuals and communities under attack, we express our solidarity with those targeted and our commitment to building a more just, equitable, inclusive, and peaceful society.

These acts of violence are the responsibility of the individuals who conceived, planned, and perpetrated these murders and attempted murders.  In the days and weeks to come, we will undoubtedly learn more about the unfolding of the attacks on the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Synagogue and on George Soros, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and others.  We recognize, however, that, like last year’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and the more recent shootings at a grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, these events occur in the context of a pervasive environment of incendiary and hateful rhetoric.  Such rhetoric has often been amplified by, and sometimes originated with, the President, who has openly and proudly declared himself and those around him nationalist. We call on these leaders to reject unequivocally the path of political demonization and racial demagoguery and to join with others in building a shared culture of mutual respect and dignity.

If we want  such a call to  be heeded, we need substantive pressure from our elected officials and the broader society.

The Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Human Rights Institute, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center see it as part of their mission to understand the nature and impact of antisemitism, racism, hatred of migrants and refugees, sexism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry; to educate for tolerance and mutual respect; and to foster a more inclusive democratic culture here at UConn and beyond.  We will also work with our partners on campus and in communities to support and defend those targeted with hateful rhetoric or deeds, like our prominent partner George Soros, welcoming communities like the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Synagogue and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), or our weary neighbors walking toward the southern border.

On Wednesday, November 7, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, with a lecture by Dr. Tom W. Smith of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago on “Antisemitism in Contemporary America.”  Next semester, on April 4-5, the Human Rights Institute will convene a conference in partnership with the Open Society Foundations on “Human Rights and the Politics of Solidarity”.  We invite you to join us in this and other work, and express our steadfast solidarity with all our partners, friends, and neighbors as we struggle toward a more just future.

Glenn Mitoma
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Sebastian Wogenstein
Interim Director
Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life

Stuart Miller
Academic Director
Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life

Kathy Libal
Human Rights Institute

Molly Land
Associate Director
Human Rights Institute