Why Public Engagement?

As citizens and as scholars, we have an interest in today’s debates about public policy, conversations about the state of the world, and imagining a different future. Read more about the Public Engagement Projects' Mission and Vision

Upcoming Events

Professor Doug Massey

Ideology and Evidence in the Making of US Immigration Policy

January 25th at 11:30am  
Amherst Room, Campus Center

Douglas Massey, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and one of the nation's preeminent social scientists, will discuss his work with legislators and policymakers in developing his migration research for policy use. He will also give his perspective on how academics can best work with the new administration on migration policy going forward. Lunch will be served.

2015 PEP Fellow Michael Rawlins discusses the science behind long term global warming prediction in The Conversation

Michael A. Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow, writes in The Conversation about how scientists can predict long-term global warming while daily weather forecasts can be unreliable. He says scientists measure different things to determine weather patterns and look at predictions of the amount of greenhouse gasses and temperature variations in oceans to determine how the overall climate will change. 

Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted on the sexuality pay gap in Quartz

PEP Steering Committee Member Lee Badgett is quoted in Quartz on the sexuality pay gap. Badgett found both gay and bisexual men earned less than heterosexual males but lesbian women sometimes earn more than heterosexual women. She says this is because lesbian women are being compared to heterosexual women, a group that is the lowest paid, while gay men are compared to a group that enjoys the highest pay. In addition, Badgett says, some lesbians go into jobs generally held by men where salaries are higher to begin with.

2015 PEP Fellow Paul Collins is featured on CNN regarding Attorney General nomination

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, comments on CNN about the upcoming hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general. Collins says in the past such events were routine and didn’t provide much controversy. It is likely Sessions will face some sharp questions, this time around, however. 

PEP Director Amy Schalet speaks on Top of Mind about Getting Academics out of the Ivory Tower

It’s a challenge for scholars to boil down their life’s work into a message that resonates with the rest of us – and do it in a language we’ll understand. Their professional success depends almost exclusively on scholarly publications. Writing an op-ed for the public or doing radio interviews typically won’t win them points in the Ivory Tower or help them get tenure. That’s where the Public Engagement Project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst comes in. It teaches academics how to be part of the public debate. To hear PEP Director Amy Schalet's interview on BYU Radio's Top of Mind, click here.

Jeff Blaustein, 2016 PEP Fellow, discusses the pros and cons of estrogen blockers for breast cancer treatment on NPR’s “The Academic Minute”

Jeff Blaustein, 2016 PEP Fellow, is featured on National Public Radio show “The Academic Minute” where he talks about the pros and cons of estrogen blockers for treatment of breast cancer and what women should know about this type of treatment. He says it is important for women to know that estrogens have many effects on the human body, and some of those have a significant impact on quality of life. Read More: The Academic Minute

2017 PEP Fellow, Erin Baker’s co-designed survey of the world’s foremost wind energy experts is featured in Utility Dive

A panel of international wind power experts, in a study designed by 2017 PEP Fellow, Erin D. Baker and colleagues, says technology advancements are expected to continue to drive down the cost of wind energy. The survey of the world’s foremost wind power experts anticipates cost reductions of 24 percent to 30 percent by 2030 and 35 percent to 41 percent by 2050, under a median or “best guess” scenario, driven by bigger and more efficient turbines, lower capital and operating costs and other advancements. Read More: Utility Dive

2017 PEP Fellow Deepankar Basu coauthors commentary in The Wire on the demonetization policy in India

Deepankar Basu, 2017 PEP Fellow, coauthors a commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation policy, where nearly 86% of Indian currency has been disbanded. The authors argue that rather than implementing demonetisation to resist monetary fraud, which has had disastrous effects on working class citizens, "it is high time that the Left in India develops a class-based analysis of, and class oriented strategy to, fight against corruption." Read More in: The Wire

2017 PEP Fellow Erin Baker is interviewed on WBUR about Eversource and Dong Energy's wind farm venture


Erin Baker, 2017 PEP Fellow, says the announcement that Eversource, the utility that serves more than 3.5 million customers in New England, and Dong Energy, a global energy company, are teaming up to build a wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, is good news. “I think it’s something that makes a lot of sense, certainly in the Northeast. We have great wind resources, we have shallow waters and we just should be taking advantage of this resource there,” she says. Listen to the interview at WBUR.