About

Elemental: A Sexual Assault Protection Program trains students and certifies instructors in a novel, flexible, and inclusive seminar aimed at late high-school and college-aged audiences. It is one of a very small number of programs to demonstrate long-term effectiveness in reducing assault rates in peer-reviewed publications.

This blog is coauthored by the program’s directors:

Mellisa Holtzman, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Ball State University

Professor Holtzman was part of the Elemental project from its inception and helped to convert social science research (including the analysis of original data) into specific vignettes that are representative of common threatening and sexually charged situations found in the college population. As a winner of four university and regional teaching awards and several teaching fellowships, she also brought her pedagogical expertise to the design and implementation of the Elemental curriculum. Professor Holtzman’s dedication to the program is grounded in her research interests in gender and sexual orientation, sociology of law, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Her research has been published in outlets such as Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, College Teaching, International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and Law and Social Inquiry. She currently trains in To-Shin Do and serves as the lead instructor for Elemental seminars.

Contact Mellisa at mkholtzman@elementalprotection.org.

Chadwick L. Menning, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology, Ball State University

In 2010, Professor Menning was awarded a competitive, interdisciplinary teaching fellowship. The resources associated with this fellowship enabled Professor Menning, along with a team of 15 students, to design a new approach to sexual assault protection. The project was grounded in a combination of social science research, martial arts, and best practices of professionals working in the field of sexual assault protection. The resulting project, Elemental, 1) focuses on assaults as they are likely to happen to college students, 2) provides program participants with choices in the way they respond to an assault, and 3) offers an organized, holistic curriculum that is grounded in social science research and is inclusive of a variety of participants, including sexual minorities. Continued testing and development has yielded a program that is not only demonstrably effective, but engaging and speaks to the realities that students face. As such, Elemental represents a synthesis of Professor Menning’s life-long interest in martial arts, his career as a scientist, and his interests in gender, sexuality, and social justice.

His research has been published in outlets such as Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Journal of Health and Social Behavior. He has practiced martial arts since 1986, including training in To-Shin Do, Shotokan karate-do, Shaolin-do kung fu, kendo, aikido, and other arts, and currently serves as an instructor and faculty advisor for the Martial Arts Club at Ball State University.

Contact Chad at cmenning@elementalprotection.org.

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