Women’s and Adult Reentry Center Offers Lectures

April Talks Center on Communication, Depression and Role Models

March 26, 2007


Each semester, Cal State Fullerton’s Women’s and Adult Reentry Center hosts a number of noontime talks on a wide variety of issues. The talks are offered to faculty, staff and students – no registration required. The following briefs are about a few of the upcoming April programs:

Key to Communication
Faculty Member to Discuss Effective Communication April 11
By Kristina Junio

At a train station in India, Christopher Deal found it difficult to find the right train to take to his next destination. He turned to a stranger for help, asking if the train that was boarding was the right one to take.
The stranger looked at Deal and smiled, then started wobbling his head back and forth, right to left, left to right. He didn’t say a word, just smiled, stared at Deal and kept wobbling.

Frustrated, Deal thought: “What was that? Is that a yes or a no?” Later, he realized that head wobbling is an Indian way of saying “yes.”

In an effort to help reduce such miscommunication for others, Deal — a lecturer in human communication studies — will lead a noon April 11 workshop on “Communicating Across Cultures: Tips for Everyday Work and Life.” The talk, in Room 205 of University Hall, is sponsored by the Women’s and Adult Re-entry Center.

“If we are aware of the cultural differences that exist between people, then we are able to communicate more effectively. When we are not aware, then we assume things and make mistakes,” Deal said. “This workshop is really about creating awareness and giving people a set of tools on how to think about that awareness, as well as what to be aware of.”
As part of the hourlong interactive workshop, Deal will suggest questions people can ask when encountering cultural differences and introduce ideas for effective communication.

Deal will introduce a three-step system of description, interpretation and evaluation used to help people think about what is going on with communication behaviors.

In India, Deal’s initial reaction to the head wobbling was negative: he thought the stranger was ignoring him. So, he began to go through the steps.

One — What did Deal see? He saw a man wobbling his head back and forth as a response to his question.
Two — Deal interpreted what he saw through an Indian standpoint.
Three — He realized the man wasn’t avoiding the question.

“It’s amazing how changing your mindset can completely change your reaction to a person,” said Deal who earned a doctorate in intercultural communication from the University of New Mexico.

“What sometimes happens when people first encounter some of these concepts is they have an ‘a-ha’ moment,” Deal said. “They have moments where they think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s why that happened,’ ‘That’s why that person didn’t understand’ or ‘That’s why he/she said this or said that.’”
In addition to teaching, Deal trains people on intercultural communication to prepare them for overseas business trips or visits.

“My purpose is to find ways for people to improve their communication and to increase understanding of other people,” Deal said.  

Beating the Blues
Professor to Deliver April 12 Talk About Men and Depression
By Alicia David

“Strong,” “masculine” and “provider” are words often used to describe men, but that’s the stereotype. Sometimes, lurking behind a tough-guy exterior is a man suffering silently from depression.

David Shepard, associate professor of counseling, will discuss the topic in a noon April 12 lecture titled “Men and Depression” in Room 205 of University Hall.

Men become depressed for myriad reasons, said Shepard, such as loss of a job or certain abilities due to age, an accident, grief from loss of a loved one, a chemical imbalance or in response to becoming a caregiver to a wife or partner suffering from dementia. Another reason that puts men at risk for depression, he added, is that men tend to depend on their partners for emotional support.

Women, in contrast, are more likely to create a network of close friends whom they can lean on during hard times, Shepard said. When a man’s partner dies or is unable to provide support, the man finds himself alone.

It’s not always easy to decipher what is going on in the male brain but Shepard noted some symptoms of depression: increased use of alcohol or other substances; deterioration of performance at work; and irritability and outbursts of rage and increased isolation from others.

Shepard says depressed men may express sadness, suicidal gestures, feelings of hopelessness and loss of interest in things that used to be pleasurable, but others don’t overtly display the symptoms for fear of looking weak and vulnerable.

Severely depressed men are at risk of suicide, he noted, “because when men attempt suicide they tend to use means that are effectively fatal.

“Women may cut themselves or overdose on pills, which may not kill them, but will get them the attention of family and friends who can help them,” said Shepard. “Men, on the other hand, will often use guns making the suicide rate for men higher than it is for women.”

Since many men are afraid to admit they are depressed, they also don’t seek help.

While loved ones may feel like they are helpless in such situations, Shepard said, there are ways to help. He recommends listening and encouraging depressed men to see a counselor. While depression is a serious health issue, it is a treatable one, he said.

Male Models

Professor Addresses Lack of Men as Role Models in Boys’ Lives

By Grace Lee

How the lack of positive male role models impact boys‚ success in school will be the topic of an April 18 discussion by Jack Bedell, professor of sociology and chair of anthropology.

Bedell will deliver his lecture, “Gender and Education: Public School Controversies” at noon in Room 205 of University Hall.

“Research shows that men in the criminal justice system are likely not to have had good male role models in their lives,” Bedell said, who will focus on such issues as:
• How to be sensitive to the learning styles and concentration levels of boys in classrooms
• What single mothers can do to help their fatherless sons
• How men raise children differently than women
• Why fathers leave
• Why women marry or reproduce with men who may not be good fathers
• How much of this behavior is learned and how much is instinctual
• The efforts being made to enhance learning.
Back to Top