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LTU's annual Hotelling Lecture to cover the digital divide among Michigan's rural youth

Release Date: October 3, 2022

hotellingSOUTHFIELD—The lack of high-speed, high-quality Internet access for youth in rural areas compares to other inequalities to produce differences in classroom grades, standardized test results, educational aspirations, career interests, self-esteem, and social tolerance.

A Michigan State University professor will outline current research on the problem and propose solutions at Lawrence Technological University’s annual Harold Hotelling Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Keith N. Hampton, a professor in the Department of Media and Information at MSU, will discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic reanimated policy makers’ focus on fixing gaps in broadband availability, and why addressing those inequities is only the first step in achieving better outcomes in young people’s academic performance and overall well-being. Hampton argues that improved outcomes are dependent on addressing traditional inequalities, enhancing digital skills, and augmenting the environment created by parents and teachers to create better opportunities and fewer constraints on young people’s use of digital media.

At MSU, Hampton is director for academic research at the Quello Center for Telecommunications Management and Law. He earned a PhD in sociology from the University of Toronto. Before joining MSU, he held faculty positions at Rutgers, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research focuses on how the use of communication and information technology is related to the structure of people’s personal networks. Past work includes studies of democratic engagement, digital inequality, and the urban environment. He has studied the outcomes of persistent contact and pervasive awareness through social media, including stress, depression, tolerance, social isolation, exposure to diverse points of view, and willingness to voice opinions. He teaches courses in social network analysis, technology and society, and research methods.

The Hotelling Lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the Mary E. Marburger Science and Engineering Auditorium, room S100 in Building 7 at www.ltu.edu/map.

The Harold Hotelling Memorial Lecture Series was founded to honor an esteemed scholar and colleague. Harold Hotelling (1945–2009) joined Lawrence Tech as an associate professor of economics in 1989 and taught courses in business law, business ethics, constitutional law, urban social issues, and law and economics. His life was marked by an unwavering dedication to his family, his church, his students, and his profession. Everyone who knew him benefited from his keen intellect, tireless devotion, quick wit, and wonderful sense of humor. Hotelling’s contributions to Lawrence Tech will always be remembered, but more importantly, he will be remembered as a great person and a dear friend.

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. The Wall Street Journal ranks LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, theory and practice education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


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