Avila Now

September 24, 2019

Avila Faculty Lead Distracted Driving Panel

Professor J. Anthony Snorgrass speaks during panel discussion
190924_distracted_driving_panel. Professor J. Anthony Snorgrass speaks during panel discussion on distracted driving on September 23.

A panel of Avila University faculty discussed the ethical and philosophical impacts of technology and social media on humans during two panel discussions on September 23 and 25 in the Pavilion.

Centered on this year’s First-Year Experience course common reading book, A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel, the panel fielded questions from Paige Illum, Ph.D., CSJA, director of student engagement and success.

A Deadly Wandering tells the story of Reggie Shaw, who in 2006 fatally struck two victims while texting and driving. One of the first texting and driving cases in the United States, the book follows Shaw through the police investigation, the subsequent trial and his life after these events. The book also discusses research on attention, information overload and the impacts of technology.

“Many of us take for granted the impact technology, and specifically cell phones, have on our everyday lives,” Illum said. “Reggie Shaw’s story and the research surrounding technology’s effects on the brain are exactly the sort of concepts we hope to discuss during our First-Year Experience coursework. We’re lucky to have professors at Avila whose expertise allows us to have a sophisticated and well-rounded discussion on this subject.”

The three panelists specialize in complementary disciplines. Ashley Fansher, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminology, Marcia Pasqualini, Ph.D., professor and chair, school of psychology, and J. Anthony Snorgrass, Ph.D., professor of communications and director of the Center for Digital Advocacy, lent their expertise and led lively discussions with the 100 students attending each day.

Shaw is serving as the 2019 Harry S. Truman Distinguished Lecturer, scheduled for October 14. For more information about the Truman Lecture Series and to reserve a spot, please click here.

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