Dana Center director's work featured in book about positive peer pressure

Posted on December 15, 2011

In the new book Join the Club, Pulitzer-prize-winning author Tina Rosenberg makes a case for positive peer pressure, citing examples of social change efforts that harnessed this power to tackle problems ranging from teen smoking in America to AIDS education in Africa to the nonviolent ouster of the "Butcher of the Balkans," former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic.

A chapter of the book titled "The Calculus Club" tells the story of Dana Center director Uri Treisman's groundbreaking work with freshman calculus students at the University of California at Berkeleyówork that inspired Treisman to develop and launch the Emerging Scholars Program, an honors program that brings small groups of students together to study this historically difficult course with the guidance of a professor or teaching assistant.

The book details how and why the Emerging Scholars Program originated in the 1970s as a response to poor performance in university math classes by minority students, and how the ESP's group study sessions are an example of positive peer pressure that can alter the course of individual lives and, potentially, the futures of entire social and cultural groups.

Through interviews and first-person accounts, Rosenberg also explores the current state of the Emerging Scholars Program, which has expanded to universities around the country and now covers a number of historically difficult courses in addition to Calculus I. She includes a discussion of the challenges to running such a programóboth on the administrative level and in the face of backlash from anti-affirmative action groups.

To learn more about the Emerging Scholars Program at The University of Texas at Austin, visit http://cns.utexas.edu/community/emerging-scholars.

Join the Club can be accessed through GoogleBooks and is available for purchase at Amazon.