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Scholars Strategy Network's No Jargon

No Jargon, the Scholars Strategy Network’s weekly podcast, presents interviews with top university scholars on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation. Powerful research, intriguing perspectives -- and no jargon. Find show notes and plain-language research briefs on hundreds of topics at www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/nojargon.
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Scholars Strategy Network's No Jargon
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Now displaying: 2019
Nov 14, 2019

Imagine you’re a working parent. You make ends meet with a part-time job at a department store, but the ever-changing schedule makes life difficult. Some weeks, you work so much that you’re left scrambling for last-minute childcare. Others, you barely get enough hours to cover all your expenses. Professor Susan Lambert describes why this has become the reality for an increasing number of Americans, how these scheduling practices impact both employees and their employers, and what policymakers can do to ease the burden.

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Nov 7, 2019

What works best to teach children in our schools? How does pollution affect public health? Why is economic inequality on the rise? These are just some of the big and important questions researchers try to answer every day. But all too often, their findings don’t actually help usher in improvements in the lives of people. Why not? The William T. Grant Foundation’s Vivian Tseng shares the history of research use in U.S. education policy, how a new approach to research can improve connections between scholars and policymakers, and what further changes are needed to make research matter.

For more on this topic:

  • Read Vivian’s blog post about evidence use across sectors and around the globe
  • Find her paper with Professor Cynthia Coburn on using evidence in the U.S.
  • Check out the William T. Grant Foundation’s research grants on improving the use of research evidence
Oct 31, 2019

Twenty-one years ago this month, a gay University of Wyoming student by the name of Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered. His story brought national attention to anti-LGBT hate crimes and spurred a popular movement for hate crime legislation. Since then, the LGBT community has won major advances and become more visible than ever - but hateful attacks are on the rise. Professor Liz Coston explores why these crimes keep happening, what they look like in 2019, and what can be done to protect and support the LGBT community in the years to come.

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Oct 24, 2019

America is the richest country on Earth with some of the most advanced healthcare services you can find. And yet, every year, hundreds of women die during childbirth, an issue that particularly affects black women. One of the potential solutions that’s being offered: returning to the centuries old practice of community midwives. Rachel Applewhite lays out what research can tell us about the effectiveness of midwives and doulas, how they help serve communities left behind by our healthcare system, and what can be done to expand access to their potentially life-saving services.

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Oct 17, 2019

Despite an ongoing impeachment inquiry, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been signaling that a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is in the final stages of negotiations, and Congress could be ready for a vote in the near future. In this archive episode, Professor Alyshia Gálvez dives into the often overlooked consequences of this trade agreement on food and health in both the U.S. and Mexico. 

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Oct 10, 2019

With a global climate strike on September 20th and waves of protests surrounding the UN summit on climate change, public interest in science seems to be on the rise. And scientists are answering the call, with more researchers than ever taking to social media to share their work with the public and each other. Professor Sara Yeo discusses how different audiences perceive science communication, the ways in which emotions can factor into it, and how scientists can make the most of engaging online.

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Oct 3, 2019

America’s schools are supposed to treat all students fairly. But we know that all too often, black students face racial discrimination, stigma, and stereotypes in their schools. And for black girls in particular, that can be compounded by their gender as well. Professor Seanna Leath explains how do these experiences affect the lives and development of black girls, what broader stereotypes and stigmas exist around mental health for black women, and what can be done to improve the situation.

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Sep 26, 2019

Memphis, Baltimore, and Detroit. East Cleveland, Ohio, and Wilkinson, Pennsylvania. Black cities are on the rise. In 1970, Black people made up a majority of 460 cities and towns across the United States. Forty-seven years later, the number of majority Black municipalities is up to 1,262. Dr. Andre Perry discusses what is driving this increase, why black cities and black neighborhoods have been devalued, and how America can do right by these places.

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Sep 19, 2019

Climate change is threatening our world, that much is becoming more and more apparent every year. And often it seems like little is happening on a policy level to address this impending crisis. But, in 2008, a group of states in the Northeast managed what seemed nearly impossible. They put in place a robust, multi-state system to put a price on carbon. Professor Leigh Raymond explains how they were able to overcome obstacles that have doomed so much other climate policy, how exactly this system works, and what lessons can be learned for other climate proposals.

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Sep 12, 2019

For many people, regular visits to the dentist are little more than a necessary inconvenience. But in lower-income communities, access to dental care can be all but nonexistent - with serious consequences for public health. Professor Donald Chi lays out how a single childhood cavity can lead to a lifetime of problems, why so many people struggle to access even basic dental care, and what policymakers can do to provide every American with the coverage they need.

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Sep 5, 2019

Back-to-school season is upon us, and back as well are some familiar debates. From charter schools to voucher programs, education in America is becoming more privatized than ever - and some communities are pushing back. Professor Janelle Scott reveals why so many schools are shifting toward privatization, why these reforms are so controversial, and what they mean for inequality in America’s education system.

For more on this topic:

  • Check out Scott’s research paper with Jennifer Holme on this topic (paywall)
Aug 29, 2019

Imagine a nation where the political rules are unfair. In this imagine nation, there are two parties. The Big Country party has its strengthen in rural areas and gets a big head start in every election - they get to win if they earn around 46 percent of the vote. The other party, the party of the city people, gets held back - to win, they need to earn about 54 percent of the vote. As it turns out, this is not an imaginary nation at all, it’s the United States of America. Professor Jonathan Rodden dives into the research from his book on why cities lose when it comes to elections, what that means for our political system, and what can be done to change the situation.

Aug 22, 2019

El Paso, Texas. Dayton, Ohio. These two cities are the latest in a long string of communities that have experienced horrific mass shootings. And once again, the news of these shootings bring up many questions. Dr. Sierra Smucker lays out what we know about mass shooters and the connection to domestic violence, what gun regulations are already on the books and whether or not they seem to be effective, and what more can be done to prevent future shootings. 

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Aug 15, 2019

The US Congress is a bedrock of American democracy, but as it stands, it often seems to be stuck in the dark ages. With more and more technology emerging to help connect people, ideas, and information across the country, Congress often still works as if the internet didn’t exist. Dr. Lorelei Kelly dives into the problems facing Congress, what it takes to bring this institution into the 21st century, and how a few members are leading the way.

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Aug 8, 2019

Around five years ago, Ferguson, Missouri erupted in violent protests after the fatal police shooting of teenager Michael Brown. The Ferguson protests were part of a wave of protests nationwide spurred by police shootings of unarmed black men and the disproportionate violence that communities of color have often faced. In this archive episode, Professor Ashley Howard explains what these protests mean, what their history is, and how new laws, policing methods, and social media are changing the way people demonstrate.

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Aug 1, 2019

At the beginning of his campaign for president, Donald Trump disparaged Mexican immigrants coming to the US and since then, immigration has been a centerpiece of his administration. But to say that America’s immigration debate started with Donald Trump is simply not true. Professor James Hollifield highlights the long history of immigration policy in this country and argues that the conversation won’t be going away any time soon, no matter what happens in 2020.

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Jul 25, 2019

When the 2016 Academy Award acting nominations all went to white performers for the second consecutive year, a trending hashtag - #OscarsSoWhite - swept Twitter. But in the span of just a few years, things seem to have changed. Professor Nancy Yuen explains the state of diversity in Hollywood, what challenges persist today, and how to reform the industry.

Jul 18, 2019

When politicians run for local office, they try to appeal to lots of different kinds of voters. And one way they do this is by collecting endorsements from public figures and organizations those voters trust. But does that actually influence the way people vote? Professor Andrea Benjamin explores the role of endorsements in local elections, how race plays into the equation, and what this means for campaigns both big and small.

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Jul 11, 2019

The CIA has become an almost mythical government agency, viewed as full of super spies who carry out the US government’s wishes across the globe. And perhaps one of the most infamous of these accounts is the CIA’s supposed orchestration of the 1973 coup in Chile. But Professor James Lockhart’s new research casts doubt on this common narrative. He digs into the CIA’s actual influence in Chile, why this narrative has become so ingrained, and what it all means for the US today.

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Jun 27, 2019

In 1890, the Supreme Court called solitary confinement “barbaric,” speculating that it would be abandoned altogether as a correctional practice. But now, nearly 130 years later, it’s clear that their prediction couldn’t have been more wrong. Professor Keramet Reiter tells the story of how solitary confinement became so widespread in the US, what this practice means for prisoners, and what can be done to change the system.

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Jun 20, 2019

This week, we’re bringing you an episode from Big Brains, a podcast produced at The University of Chicago. Big Brains tells the stories behind the pivotal research and pioneering breakthroughs reshaping our world. They cover everything from the hidden dangers of artificial intelligence to the discovery of gravitational waves. This episode features Professor Eric Oliver on the science of conspiracy theories and political polarization.

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Jun 13, 2019

When elected officials redraw districts in their own party’s favor, the impact can be enormous, swaying elections and influencing policy for years to come. This practice - known as gerrymandering - is one of the most hotly debated in American politics right now, and it’s one the Supreme Court will soon weigh in on. Dr. Peter Miller lays out the legal cases surrounding gerrymandering, what these decisions might mean for future elections, and what else can be done to get states to draw maps in ways that are not politically motivated.

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Jun 6, 2019

Building healthy and equitable communities is a tough challenge, but it’s one that public policy is well position to address. In this episode, produced in collaboration with the Health Policy Research Scholars program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two PhD candidates share their research on what can be done to improve the health of both patients and their providers. First, Kristefer Stojanovski reveals why the fight to eradicate HIV must include a push to address bias among doctors. Next, Yaminette Diaz-Linhart outlines how the stresses of the job impact health care workers, and what this means for their patients.

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May 30, 2019

Public policy influences just about every part of our lives, and perhaps one of the most important is our health and well-being. In this episode, produced in collaboration with the Health Policy Research Scholar program by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two PhD candidates share their research on some unintended consequences at the intersection of health and policy. First, Tyler Jimenez explains how existential threats, like the fear of death, can affect people’s support for policies meant to address health inequalities. Next, Amy Jones lays out how the lives of students of color are impacted by our push for diversity on campuses, and what this means for their health.

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May 23, 2019

Many of us are part of one organization or another that’s hoping to create change. Yet all too often, it feels like the levers of change are stuck. Professor Hahrie Han tells the stories of a few organizations that have been able to break through, get a seat at the table, and create real, tangible results. When it comes to organizing, there is no magic formula, but her research sheds light on patterns from groundbreaking organizations that can lead to success.

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