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Meryl Alper. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern

Northeastern University’s Dr. Meryl Alper, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, will be delivering the 2020 June Fox Lecture at Lesley University. The annual lecture series, which began in 1997, continues Lesley’s history of commitment to equity in education by honoring Professor Emerita June T. Fox, a distinguished former member of the Lesley faculty and dean of the Division of Education and Special Education, now the Graduate School of Education. Professor Alper’s lecture, entitled “Digital Media, Disability, and Youth: Opportunities for Learning, Voice, and Society,” will focus on universal design for learning – highlighting themes from her award-winning book Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability, and Inequality (MIT Press, 2017).

“I am honored to share my work and research with the socially engaged community of scholars at Lesley University, which has a rich tradition of pioneering progressive and innovative forms of teacher education and educational practice,” said Professor Alper.

This year, the June Fox Lecture Series has teamed up with Lesley’s Community of Scholars Day –  a coordinated celebration of inquiry, engagement, and community – to host the lecture on April 2, 2020. The series has consistently presented a distinctive lineup of educators, authors, and others with an understanding of various facets of education, particularly the role of teachers and their impact on children’s lives. These themes are present in Dr. Alper’s research, which explores the social and cultural implications of communication technologies, with a focus on disability and digital media, children and families’ technology use, and mobile communication.

As a 2020 June Fox Lecturer, Professor Alper will be joining an impressive group; past lecturers have included Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot (American sociologist, MacArthur Fellow), Vivian Gussin Paley (a pioneering teacher and widely acclaimed author, MacArthur Fellow), and Carol R. Johnson (former Boston School Superintendent, 2014 Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow), among deans and emeritus professors at notable institutions across the country, and other leaders in the field of learning (full list of past speakers here).

This year’s June Fox Lecture event (more information/register) will end with a reception and Giving Voice book signing. Giving Voice received an Honorable Mention in the Media and Cultural Studies category of the 2018 PROSE Awards, sponsored annually by the Association of American Publishers, as well as the 2018 Outstanding Publication in the Sociology of Disability Award from the Disability and Society section of the American Sociological Association.

Last summer, Professor Alper spoke at +Aprendizajes, an education and technology-focused conference in Montevideo, Uruguay. With Giving Voice as the foundation of her talk, she delivered the keynote to an audience full of scholars, educators, and experts, exploring some of the questions central to her research. In addition to Giving Voice, Professor Alper is the author of Digital Youth with Disabilities (MIT Press, 2014).