April 2013 Newsletter

In this Issue

Grad Student Critique of Reinhart & Rogoff Report Goes Viral, Featured on Colbert

A working paper by PhD candidate Thomas Herndon and Professors Michael Ash and Robert Pollin (all economics) has garnered international attention. Heralded as a “bombshell report,” it revealed serious errors in a major study by eminent Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff that was used as the framework for austerity policies across the U.S. and internationally.

Sociologist, ISSR Scholar Focused on Work-Based Inequality in America

“I am a sociologist interested in race, racism, inequality,” says Enobong (Anna) Branch, assistant professor of sociology who is also an ISSR Scholar for 2012-13 with the Institute for Social Science Research. Her academic focus is examining how race, gender and class shape work-based inequality in America.

Student Stands Out in STPEC

“In a way, my involvement in high school propelled me toward UMass,” says Liam Keller Lynch ’13 (STPEC). Besides being president of his class junior and senior year, Lynch was a member of National Honor Society and marching band, was a prom planner, and worked on various fundraisers. For college, he sought a big school with many opportunities and broad acceptance of the queer community.

ISSR Consultants Strengthen Methods Support on Campus

The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), based in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), is changing the way social science faculty and graduate students pursue research on campus. Officially launched in fall 2012, ISSR has spent the year expanding methods and training opportunities for social science faculty. A major component of this expansion has been the institutionalization of methodology consulting within the Institute.

Other Topics of Interest

Message from Dean Robert Feldman

Robert Feldman

The bombings in Boston and their aftermath affected the UMass campus profoundly. Many of our students and faculty were at the Marathon, either as participants or spectators, and many had relatives and friends who were in the vicinity of the bombing. All of us have struggled to make sense of a profoundly nonsensical event.

Senior Celebration Ceremony on May 11

Senior Celebration medallion

The SBS Senior Celebration Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 p.m. in the Mullins Center. All SBS graduates in attendance will be recognized individually and receive a UMass Amherst medallion. Tickets are not required; seniors may invite as many guests as they like.

$300 million UMass Rising Fundraising Campaign Announced

Spire of the old chapel

University leaders have announced the launch of “UMass Rising,” the campus’ most ambitious fund-raising campaign ever. Now in its sesquicentennial year, UMass Amherst has set a goal of $300 million to achieve new heights in the Commonwealth and the nation.

Subbaswamy Inaugurated as Chancellor

Chancellor Subbaswamy

With academic pomp and pageantry, Kumble R. Subbaswamy was formally inaugurated April 27 as chancellor during ceremonies at the Mullins Center. The installation was held in conjunction with a weeklong commemoration of the founding of the campus in 1863, an occasion noted by Subbaswamy during his inaugural address.

"The News Never Sleeps"—And Neither Does News Anchor Haynes '94

Tom Haynes

“I am a TV news anchor at Fox 5 in Atlanta,” says Tom Haynes ’94 (political science). “And trust me, every bit of what I do in my job today was cultivated during my four years at UMass.” Moving from an Intro to American Politics or Political Theory course to TV may not seem like an obvious step for political science majors. But that’s exactly what happened for Haynes.


Comparing Planting Methods for Nursery Stock

nursery stock

Professor Dan Lass (resource economics) talks about a system being used by Amherst Nurseries, owned by John Kinchla '97, MS '02 (resource economics), that saves soil by wrapping root balls in a mixture of compost and bark in a knit fabric bag. And since this video was made, Resource Economics has joined the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

International Conference, The Past for Sale? Coming Up at UMass Amherst

SBS Center for Heritage and Society

The UMass Amherst Center for Heritage & Society will be holding its third annual International Conference on May 15-17, 2013. "The Past for Sale? New Perspectives on the Economic Entanglements of Cultural Heritage" has garnered 120 abstracts from participants representing 30 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Panama, Syria, and Zimbabwe.

Students Rising, A Local Campaign to Change the World, Led by SBS Students

Room to Read logo

When Rachel Levine ’13 (communication and theater) attended the Boston SBS Student-Alumni Networking Event in January, she never knew that in three short months, she would be leading a 30-day campaign for the UMass Amherst campus. But after meeting alumnus Benjamin Happ ’98 (psychology), who is a member of the SBS Dean’s Advisory Board, and learning of the non-profit organization Room to Read, Levine was inspired to construct an awareness initiative at UMass.

Breathe Easy, Putting a Price Tag on Pollution

Sylvia Brandt

From California to Chile, and places in between, pollution-attributable asthma continues to impact the lives of children and families. Drawing ties between urbanization, socioeconomics, and asthma prevalence, UMass Amherst resource economist Sylvia Brandt turns to urban communities to investigate rising asthma rates among youth.

Boston Globe Sunday Supplement Celebrates 150 Years of UMass

A special supplement in the Boston Sunday Globe celebrating UMass Amherst’s sesquicentennial, that began the week of April 21, included an interview with alumnus/comedian Bill Cosby and an essay by alumnus Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric.

American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault named Commencement speaker

Ken Chenault, commencement speaker

Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express Company, will address the 5,500 graduates and their families and friends at Undergraduate Commencement on Friday, May 10 at 5 p.m. in McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Chenault will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony. Chenault joined American Express in 1981 and became president and chief operating officer in 1997. He assumed his current responsibilities as CEO in 2001, and later that year became chairman.

Congressman Neal honored with UMass Distinguished Alumni Award

Congressman Richard Neal

The UMass Amherst Alumni Association honored Congressman Richard Neal, who teaches in the Journalism program, on Beacon Hill in Boston on April 3, 2013.

Alumni News | Faculty and Department News 

SBS in the News | A Word from SBS

Alumni News

Brittany Loring '06 (political science/psychology) was among those seriously injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing. She remained hospitalized until April 28, and we wish her a speedy and full recuperation. There is now an easy way to contribute towards Brittany's recovery. Read more...

Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi '76 (political science) is CEO/president of Emergent BioSolutions in Rockville, MD. The company added about 70 employees in the past year and recruits globally. The biotech industry seems a long way from the federal Securities and Exchange Commission where Abdun-Nabi worked as a young lawyer, but it's not as far-fetched as one might think. Read more...

If you are interested in alternative investments, you might want to check out this new research, co-authored by Konstantin Danilov '05 (economics) on risk factor optimization in private equity portfolios.

Baltimore Ravens safety James Ihedigbo '07 (sociology) discusses current events and his work with HOPE Africa on ESPN.

BusinessWest's 40 Under 40 list included a LOT of UMass alumni...15 to be exact. Among them are three awesome SBSers: William Davila '96 (communication), division director, Outpatient Services Division, Gandara Center; Allison Garriss '03 (sociology), program director, Clinical & Support Options Inc.; and Somalid (Maldonado) Hogan '03 (economics), senior project manager for the City of Springfield. BusinessWest is the business journal of Western Massachusetts. The 40 Under 40 program, begun in 2007, showcases young leaders in the four counties of Western Mass. to recognize talent and inspire others to reach higher and do more in their community.

UMass football honored Boston Marathon bombing victims during the spring game on April 20by giving runners a chance to "cross the finish line" during half-time at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Among the runners was Lisa Lunt '05 (sociology), who offered some commentary in the video of the event.

Good Morning America used a short video clip shot by Matt Cadwallader '09 (journalism/political science) during the shoot out with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown.

Matt Rocheleau '10 (journalism/journalism) got a byline on Boston.com's "captured" story about the Boston Marathon bomber.

Lecturer Steve Fox (journalism) interviewed several young alumni journalists after the Boston bombing. Runner's World editor Hannah McGoldrick '12 (journalism) was there to cover the race. NPR.org Digital news specialist Eric Athas '08 (journalism) was at work about a mile away at the time of the attack. He discusses the coverage and use of social media as events unfolded. Melissa Turtinen '09 (journalism), a web producer with WHDH-TV, had the day off and had been watching the runners. At the time of the explosions she was in a restaurant about two miles away. A text from a coworker alerted her to the situation. On her blog after the bombings, she wrote: "We’re resilient. We’ll pull together. But for now, we’re hurting. A lot. Please keep this amazing city in your thoughts and prayers…hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.",

Sophia Zaman '12 (political science/women's studies) comments on NPR's Morning Edition about the federal Pell Grant program that is spending money on adult students, many of whom never graduate. Zaman says the reason people leave school is the rising cost of tuition and fees. Zaman, who lobbies Congress on behalf of the U.S. Student Association, says the $8,600 she received in Pell Grants over four years wasn't enough. She still had to work three part-time jobs to make ends meet.

Does cinema imitate politics? Melinda Tarsi MA '10, PhD '13 (political science) will explore that topic in a summer online course on American Politics Through Film at UMass.

Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Association, on their Events Listing. And check out MaroonCentral, the Alumni Association's online community. This is a FREE social networking service that encourages communication and professional networking among alumni and students through class notes, profiles, a searchable directory, and more.

Faculty and Department News

Senior lecturer BJ Roche (journalism) had a photo published on the website of The New York Times Magazine, as part of a slideshow titled "Front yards are the new backyards." It was labeled by the editors as "our favorite."

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning had a great showing at the BSLA  (Boston Society of Landscape Architects) awards. Studio instructor Stephen Stimson and his firm Stephen Stimson Associates won three awards (his colleague and co-instructor studio instructor Lauren Todd MRP and MLA '01 was project designer/manager on the Northeast Harbor, Maine, project that won the honor award); Prof. Annaliese Bischoff received a merit award, and Jing Huang '14 (landscape architecture) won a student merit award. Merit awards also went to alumni and their firms: Richardson & Associates (Todd Richardson MLA '87); Spurr, Weston & Sampson's Design Studio (Cherie Ruane '95); and Luisa Oliveira MLA '01. Not quite a sweep, but pretty close! See the full awards listing...

Leading scholars on Venezuela and Hugo Chávez gathered on campus in mid-April for a conference titled “Venezuela: Change or Continuity? The Legacy of Hugo Chávez and the Future of the Bolivarian Revolution.” The event, organized by Angelica Bernal (political science), was co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Amherst College dean of the faculty, the Amherst College Lamont Fund, and the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies.

The Center for Public Policy and Administration hosted a book launch party for Participatory Visual and Digital Methods by Aline Gubrium (public health) and Krista Harper (anthropology and public policy).

Mari Castañeda (communication) was a panelist at the inaugural "Faculty Women of Color in the Academy "conference in April at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She discussed "The Economics of Being a Faculty Woman of Color: Being Prepared and Planning Ahead." Read more about the conference...

Joya Misra (sociology) and Jonathan Rosa (anthropology) are among the next group of CRF Scholars. Read more...

Regine Spector (political science) has received a grant with two colleagues to engage students in an exciting summer research project in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan. Read more...

Russia's Path from Gorbachev to Putin: The Demise of the Soviet System and the New Russia, co-authored by David Kotz (economics), is now out in Russian translation.

Our best wishes go to Robert Faulkner (sociology), who is retiring May 31. On the faculty since 1971, he has been the recipient of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Outstanding Teaching Award and the UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award. Noting that his success as a sociologist should be attributed to curiosity, Faulkner took his own advice while focusing on organizations, corporate crime, culture and social networks. He studied the Hollywood film industry, corporations and advertising agencies, fraud in oil and gas partnerships, and jazz musicians at work. The latter was of special interest, because Faulkner is also trumpeter, playing gigs with bands in the Pioneer Valley and beyond.

Shaheen Pasha (journalism) edited a 16-page special report on Islamic finance for The Times of London. She also wrote a piece for Quartz on Cairo's dismal economy, titled "Egyptians, read these three charts before you shun Qatar's aid and burn its flags."

Gerald Friedman (economics) spoke on “The Colorado Health Care Cooperative Saves Billions: True or Too Good to be True?” at the Healthy, Wealthy & Wise banquet on April 12. Read more...

Prof. Emeritus Irving Howards (political science) died suddenly on April 8. At UMass he served as the director of the Bureau of Government Research and chaired a committee to establish the Institute of Government Affairs. Howards was deeply involved with AARP and served as chair of its national legislative committee and traveled the world – often on a bike -- with his wife. Read more...

SBS in the News

New York Times [Economix blog], 4/29/13. Nancy Folbre (economics) opines about the costs and benefits of the social welfare system in Denmark and the overall effect it has on that country’s economy. New York Times [Economix blog], 4/22/13. Folbre focuses on UMass graduate student Thomas Herndon's attempt to replicate the 2010 Reinhart/Rogoff report for an econometrics class when he discovered errors in their cross-national analysis of the impact of national debt on economic growth and made international headlines. She goes on to discuss issues surrounding replication. New York Times [Economix blog], 4/8/2013. Folbre says Social Security, the most transparently self-financed program of the federal government, is not increasing the budget deficit. She goes on to suggest that "scrapping the cap" would be a good idea.

NPPA The Voice of Journalists, 4/25/13. Brian McDermott (journalism) blogs about students, spot news, and the Boston bombing.

MSN Money, 4/17/13. M.V. Lee Badget, (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, comments about how same-sex marriage can boost state tax collections. She says same-sex marriage generates tax revenue from tourism and spending on weddings.

MainStreet.com, 4/11/13; Yahoo! Canada Finance, 4/11/13. Joya Misra (sociology) says most parents don’t have the option of staying home to care for their children so they have to find ways to handle the cost of childcare. A system of public childcare is needed to give parents better, less expensive options, she says.

The Express Tribune [Pakistan], 4/11/13. A group of American academics, students and U.S. officials, led by Prof. Michael Hannahan (political science) of the Donahue Institute’s Civic Initiative, Tim Shea '13 (political science/philosophy) and Chris Sluter '13 (political science) visited Pakistan as part of a cultural exchange.

Money Matters, 4/9/13. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses the legacy of the late Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Britain. Business Talk Radio [The Gabe Wisdom Show], 4/9/13. Pollin's discussion of Thatcher's economic legacy begins at 2:58.

WWLP-TV 22, 4/9/13. Jesse Rhodes (political science) says the Congressional debate over proposed new gun legislation is sure to get tangled up in partisan politics. It looks like Senate Republicans will attempt to block any vote on the substance of the proposed new rules, he says.

CATO Unbound, 4/5/13. Ray La Raja (political science) participates in the CATO Institute's online discussion of campaign finance experts answering the question, "What Keeps Money Out of Politics?"

The Real News Network, 4/5/13. James Boyce (economics) says, "The local food movement, the movement towards organic agriculture, and the creation of community-supported agricultural farms is really changing the trends in American agriculture in a way that I think will produce a more diverse and, ultimately, sustainable food system here at home."

MSNBC, 4/6/13. Jonathan Rosa (anthropology) appeared on “Melissa Harris-Perry” to discuss the negative connotations associated with the term “illegal immigrant,” which was dropped from use last week by the Associated Press. CNN.us, 4/4/13; Washington Post, Minnesota Public Radio, 4/2/13. The Associated Press has dropped the phrase “illegal immigrant” from its stylebook, which is used by newspapers and news organization around the country. Rosa weighs in on the discussion, noting that he prefers “unauthorized migrant” to describe those who live in the country without proper papers.

Bloomberg, 4/3/13. Sheldon Goldman (political science) comments in a story about how delays in confirming candidates for federal courts is hurting the judicial system and adding to the bitter partisanship in Washington. He says back in 1997, the Senate balked at confirming Sonia Sotomayor to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in part, because she was seen as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

Time, 4/2/13. Brad Tuttle (journalism) notes that gasoline prices dropped in March, for the first time in at least 10 years. Typically gasoline prices rise in the spring and begin declining in the summer. The reason for the decline, he says, is increased refinery production, lower demand because of the soft economy and expanded use of fuel-efficient cars. Tuttle's business articles appear on the Time website almost daily. Click here for a full listing.

WTOP 103.5 FM, 4/1/13. A story on how college fees have sharply increased at many schools, while tuition costs have remained low, notes that UMass Amherst's mandatory fees are now six times higher than in-state tuition. Lauren Vaughn '13 (communication), organizer of the UMass Students Against Debt coalition, comments.

A Word from SBS

This e-letter has been created for alumni and friends of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SBS includes the degree-granting departments and programs of Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Journalism, Labor Studies, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Resource Economics, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. Among our ranks are 38,600 alumni, 3,700 undergraduate majors, and 560 graduate students. In addition to its departments, SBS is home to numerous centers and research institutions. Through the general education courses that SBS offers, the College’s 200 faculty members teach one quarter of the nearly 20,000 undergraduates on campus in any given semester.

Gifts from alumni and friends are vital to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Your investment allows us to create remarkable opportunities for today’s—and tomorrow's—students. If you are already a donor, please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please consider a gift to SBS for your department, financial aid, a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities, or an unrestricted designation. To make a gift online, click here. Or, send a check to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Draper Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 40 Campus Center Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9244. Questions? Contact James Mallet, 413.577.1700.

We welcome feedback related to this newsletter, the college in general, specific concerns, or topics of interest. Please address all correspondence, including story ideas, to Sabine Cray, director of communications and marketing. If you wish to add your name to the mailing list, or if you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us. If you have had a change of address, email or other personal information, you can update it online. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences respects your privacy. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone unrelated to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.