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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Matthew Lee, Ph.D.
LSU Associate Professor of Sociology and Coordinator Crime and Policy Evaluation Research Group

Matthew R. Lee is an Associate Professor of Sociology, member of the graduate faculty, and the coordinator of the Crime and Policy Evaluation Research group (CAPER) at Louisiana State University. He earned his PhD in Sociology from LSU in 1999. His areas of expertise are homicide and interpersonal violence; urban and rural crime patterns; the influence of social institutions and civic engagement on violent crime; labor market processes and violence; and public reactions to crime.

He is the author of more than 35 peer reviewed scientific journal articles. These publications have appeared in a variety of top tier social science journals including Criminology, Journal of Research on Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, Deviant Behavior, Social Forces, Social Problems, The Sociological Quarterly, Social Science Research, Rural Sociology, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and many others.

He has also authored a variety of fact sheets for policy makers, the media, and the general public on such topics as citizen attitudes toward law enforcement in Baton Rouge and the very impressive performance of the Baton Rouge Police Department in clearing murders by arrest. He has delivered more than 50 presentations at the meetings of national and international organizations such as the America Sociological Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the Southern Sociological Association.

His research has been financially supported by a variety of sources, and in 2003 he was awarded the Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation, a 5 year $400,000 grant which is considered among the most prestigious and competitive grants available to social scientists.

He currently serves on the editorial boards of four peer reviewed journals in the fields of sociology and criminology, and regularly acts as an editorial consultant for approximately 20 journals and granting agencies. He regularly teaches undergraduate classes and graduate seminars on the sociology of crime and violence at LSU.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

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     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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