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Singhal to Deliver Mellon Lecture October 4

CONWAY, Ark. (September 11, 2018) – Dr. Arvind Singhal, Hendrix College’s 2018 Mellon Scholar, on Thursday, October 4 will present the lecture “The Positive Deviance Approach: Solving Complex Problems from the Inside Out” in Lecture Hall B of the Mills Center for Social Sciences on the Hendrix campus. The lecture begins at 4:15 p.m., with a reception to follow.

Singhal is the Samuel Shirley and Edna Holt Marston Professor and Director of the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Texas at El Paso, and since 2009 has been appointed as the William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow, Clinton School of Public Service, University of Arkansas. He teaches and conducts research in the diffusion of innovations, the Positive Deviance approach, organizing for social change, the entertainment-education strategy, and liberating interactional structures, and his research and outreach spans sectors such as health, education, sustainable development, civic participation, and corporate citizenship.

“Dr. Singhal’s visit is an exciting opportunity to introduce many of our students to Positive Deviance, and to invite those in attendance to think about how they might use it to revolutionize problem-solving in their various fields,” said Amber Jackson, program manager for the Hendrix College Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

Positive Deviance (PD) is a novel approach to individual, organizational, and social change based on the observation that in every community there exist certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers, while having access to the same resources and facing worse challenges. The PD approach has been employed in some 50 countries to address a wide variety of social and organizational purposes, including decreasing malnutrition and infant and maternal mortality in Vietnam and Pakistan; reducing school dropouts in Argentina and in the U.S.; and reducing hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. and Colombia.  

A leading scholar of the PD approach, Singhal has taught courses and implemented workshops on the positive deviance approach for educators, health practitioners, government officials, and business leaders in some 40 countries of Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He has written nearly 200 peer-reviewed essays in leading journals of communication, public health, and social change, and written or edited 13 books, including Inspiring Change and Saving Lives: The Positive Deviance Way (2014); Health Communication in the 21st Century (2014); Inviting Everyone: Healing Healthcare through Positive Deviance (2010); and Protecting Children from Exploitation and Trafficking: Using the Positive Deviance Approach (2009). 

His visit to Hendrix as Mellon Lecturer is made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives at Hendrix.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit