We are sorry to report that Dawnn Jaffier '10 (sociology) was killed in a shooting during a parade in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood on Aug. 23. An 18-year-old suspect was arrested in connection with the shooting. Police say Jaffier was an innocent bystander. See articles about the shooting in the Boston Herald, WBUR, NECN, WHDH-TV 7, Boston Globe. Jaffier was the first recipient of the West End House Scholarship while a student at UMass, which was created by Henry Barr '68 (government) and his wife Andrea '68 (education). A woman with a big heart who served with City Year, she wanted to keep helping young people, so she joined Playworks, which provides programming for elementary schools. She worked at the Hennigan Elementary School, where she was a warm, bright presence, and was a coach at the Boys and Girls Club. Our condolences go to Jaffier's family.
Will McGuinness '10 (journalism) has a new job as Social & Digital Media Manager at Columbia University in the City of New York. Previously he was vice president of content at Olympia Media Group, also in New York.
Melanie DeSilva '94 (communication, STPEC, women's studies), director of marketing, communications and recruitment for University Without Walls (UWW) at UMass, comments in a U.S. News and World Report story about how to get student loans for online course programs.
The Allsopp siblings—Owen '13 (communication), Dean '14 (journalism) and Evelyn (who just graduated high school and will spend time with City Year in New York before applying to colleges)—were featured in an article that focused on their altruism, not only in their community of Sherborn, MA, but across the United States.
In a Springfield Republican article, Liam Coen '09 (communication), former UMass Football quarterback who is now UMass quarterbacks coach, discusses incumbent A.J. Doyle and transfer Blake Frohnapfel as possible starters.
A feature story in the Springfield Republican looks at alumna and Ludlow native Lindsay Van Dyke '12 (sociology) as she prepares to travel to Mexico to film a documentary on female migrant stories.
Three of UMass’ greatest football players of all-time are now filling roles on Coach Whipple’s staff. Liam Coen ’09 (communication), Marcel Shipp ’01 (education) and Charles Walker ’08 (sociology) recently discussed what it’s like to return home, what their goals are, and how things have changed. Read the story.
After Amir Moini '11 (communication) concluded a two-year experience with Teach For America Hawaii, he relocated to Los Angeles where he was director of development for Free Arts, a nonprofit that provides art services to kids in need. Now he is in Foundation Relations at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center.
Former UMass Lacrosse All-American Kevin Leveille '03 (economics) has been named the Captain of Team USA. They opened competition on July 10 at the FIL World Championship in Denver, against Canada.
Former softball All-American Sara Plourde '12 (sociology) was named to the Canadian National Team, the second-consecutive year the 3-time Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year has made the squad.
When sports marketing pioneer J.B. Bernstein '90 (political science) was on campus as the 2014 Eleanor Bateman Alumni Scholar in Residence, he impressed his audience with the story of how he came to be featured in the Disney movie Million Dollar Arm. Read more in UMass Magazine.
It's been a year now since Kevin Knobloch '78 (journalism) became chief of staff to the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Monitz. The former president of the Union of Concerned Scientists is now a key mover in President Obama's climate action plan. Read more in UMass Magazine.
Gerald D. McLellan '57 (economics), former associate justice of the Massachusetts probate and family court, has penned his fourth legal thriller, Outsource (Xlibris)
Rick Pitino '75 (sociology) has published The One Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life (St. Martin's Press), which shares his key to success, on the court and in life.
In Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art (WiIliam Morrow), best-selling author Carl Hoffman '83 (STPEC) retraces Rockefeller's steps to the jungles of New Guinea and immerses himself in a world of headhunters and cannibals to solve the mystery of his 1961 disappearance.
K.J. Hannah Greenberg PhD '87 (communication) has published Citrus-Inspired Ceramics (Aldrich Press), a book of 78 whimsical and profound poems about Israel, and The Immediacy of Emotional Kerfuffles (Bards & Sages Publishing), 80 stories that strip away old-fashioned prejudices and sally at the bizarre edges of living. Greenberg is a Pushcart Prize nominee, National Endowment for the Humanities awardee, and designated Keeper of the Hibernaculum of Imaginary Hedgehogs.
Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis University Press) by Laura Silver '92 (legal studies) is a deeply researched and very funny round-the-world quest for the origins and modern-day manifestations of the knish by the world's leading expert.
Several SBS faculty received tenure this year. Congratulations to Amel Ahmed (political science), Sonya Atalay (anthropology), Whitney Battle-Baptiste (anthropology), David Cort (sociology), Claudio Moreira (communication), Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji (economics), Wenona Ryder-Richmond (sociology) and Frank Sleegers (landscape architecture and regional planning).
Washington Post [Monkey Cage blog], 9/3/14. Charli Carpenter (political science) writes about the ongoing debate on the practical and ethical considerations of using autonomous robots capable of killing people. She says the issue can become confusing because it is often infused with references from science fiction, but notes that the concerns are real and people really are scared of killer robots.
PBS.org, 8/28/14. Steve Fox (journalism) writes about how his students, when they faced technical problems, used Facebook as the platform to share information and solve their deadline problems.
Between the Lines, 8/27/14 [Click on mp3 button to listen.] David Kotz (economics) is interviewed about the changing political and military situation in Eastern Ukraine. Boston Herald, 7/19/14. Kotz says the crash of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine is further escalating tensions in the region. “No one wants a big war over this between major powers, but that is the risk that exists here….incidents like this are going to keep happening as long as there is a civil war going on,” he says. He called on President Obama to try to negotiate a cease-fire that could be monitored by the Russians, the European Union and the United Nations.
Hartford Business Journal [from CNN Money], 8/22/14. Jorge Velasquez '15 (economics & mathematics) is featured in a story about how college graduates are increasingly drawn to Silicon Valley rather than Wall Street when they seek jobs after graduation. Velasquez says he’s interested in working for Google. “I like Google’s innovation,” he says. “I like working on products that will actually change the world. I don’t think Wall Street has that appeal right now.” The story notes that big banks, like Citigroup, where Velasquez was a summer intern, are aware of such sentiments and have begun boosting their compensation packages to attract young talent.
Vox.com, 8/20/14. Research by Arindrajit Dube (economics) is cited in a news story and chart about the relative value of $100 in each of the 50 states. WBUR, 7/23/14. A news story on the debate over raising the minimum wage includes an extensive interview with Dube. He says the best way to increase the minimum wage, while preventing job losses from the higher wage, is to tie it to local market conditions and to make the increases modest. He suggests either pegging the wage floor to half the median wage or tying it to the cost of living in a specific location. National Public Radio (aired on stations nationwide), 7/19/14. A news story about how new data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage has spurred job growth, rather than causing job losses, notes that Dube has long argued that raising the minimum wage by small amounts has no adverse affects on employment. Both conservative critics and the Congressional Budget Office have argued that raising the minimum wage causes job losses. Bloomberg Surveillance, 7/11/14. Dube discusses raising the minimum wage and how it would help low-income workers but have little negative impact on jobs with Tom Keene and Scarlet Fu. Epoch Times, 7/2/14. A story on the impact of raising California's minimum wage notes that some economists contend such a move will cause job losses, while others, such as Arindrajit Dube (economics) argue that raising the minimum wage will lift millions of Americans above the poverty level.
MassLive, 8/19/14. An article previewing a rally in favor of single-payer health care quotes Gerald Friedman (economics). He says that the U.S. could save an estimated $592 billion annually by slashing the administrative waste associated with the private insurance industry ($476 billion) and reducing pharmaceutical prices to European levels ($116 billion). Greenfield Recorder, 7/1/14. Friedman gave the first of two talks on the theme “Democracy at Risk” at the fifth annual Charlemont, (MA) Forum. The widening gap between “the richest of the rich” and the rest of us is not only a social issue, but a threat to American democracy itself, he says.
Las Cruces Sun-News, 8/17/14; Albuquerque Journal, 8/11/14. Research by James Heintz (Political Economy Research Institute) and Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, showing that infrastructure spending creates new jobs and investment is cited in a story about the new U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund that allows private entities to invest in projects across the country. The Real News Network, 7/30/14. Pollin is interviewed about the feasibility of shifting to a green economy.
Boston Globe, 8/17/14. Ray La Raja (political science) says Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker could benefit if Democratic voters supporting Steve Grossman decide to support the pro-business Baker in a matchup between him and Grossman’s rival Martha Coakley. Grossman is trailing Coakley in the race for the Democratic nomination, but his supporters are viewed as more moderate than Coakley’s mostly liberal backers. La Raja says Baker has an opportunity to play off this ideological split among Democrats. Washington Post, 8/15/14. Brian Schaffner (political science) and La Raja, along with Wouter Van Erve, a doctoral student in political science, write that the election cycle and ballot preferences in Ferguson, Mo., are part of the reason why the majority African-American community has a large majority of white elected officials. They argue that off year, non-partisan municipal elections tend to hold down voter participation, and this effect is particularly powerful among low-income, less educated voters. Boston Globe, 8/15/14. La Raja says Martin J. Walsh, the new mayor of Boston should learn from New York’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio by taking more risks and spending political capital when dealing with thorny political issues. Walsh has generally taken cautious steps, but other political observers say that is because he is working to build consensus from the bottom up. Boston Herald, 8/7/14. La Raja says U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is giving money to Democratic candidates for the Senate in this cycle in an effort to prevent the Republicans from gaining a majority. At the same time, some of the people Warren is most critical of—bankers, lobbyists and corporate donors—are also giving money to those Senators because they have worked with the legislators in the past, he says. Springfield Republican, 8/5/14. La Raja says state lawmakers will likely be more careful about recommending people for state jobs in the wake of the recent conviction of former state probation commissioner John O’Brien and his deputies on charges they ran a rigged hiring scheme at their department. Wicked Local Raynham [Gatehouse News Service], et al, 7/22/14. La Raja says there is an incentive for voters in Massachusetts to be unenrolled because without a party affiliation they can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary elections. “By being unenrolled you have more choices,” La Raja says. Washington Post [Monkey Cage blog], 7/21/14. La Raja and Schaffner call for giving more money to party organizations as a way to break down the intense polarization in Washington and across the country. They contend their research shows that when party organizations distribute campaign funds, they do so in a manner than supports more moderate candidates, while money from individuals or ideological groups tends to support candidates with more extreme views.
Springfield Republican, 8/15/14. John R. Mullin (landscape architecture and regional planning), co-director of the Center for Economic Development, and Allyson Manuel, a research associate at the center, comment on efforts to rejuvenate a former mill at 150 Front St. in West Springfield. Greenfield Recorder, 7/3/14. Mullin is working on a report on the economic impact of the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Mullin wrote a similar report when the nuclear plant in Rowe closed 17 years ago.
The Real News Network, 8/14/14. Gerald A. Epstein (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, is interviewed about recent comments by Stanley Fischer, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, who says he is disappointed in the global economic recovery. Epstein says Fischer is taking a very conservative view of economic growth and instead he should be focusing on improving wage gains. Truth-out.org [from the Real News Network], 7/22/14. Epstein is interviewed about the implementation of the Dodd-Frank federal financial regulation law. He says some parts of it have been put into effect but four years after passage other key elements are still being written as regulations.
The Real News Network, 8/11/14. James K. Boyce (economics), director of the Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment at the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses why he is supporting a bill introduced in Congress that would limit carbon pollution by auctioning off permits to fossil fuel vendors and giving the proceeds to the American people on an equal basis. WBUR-FM; Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 7/30/14. There is extended coverage of an opinion piece by Boyce published in the July 30 New York Times which described the potential benefits of proposed legislation that would require coal, oil and natural gas companies to buy a permit for each ton of carbon in the fuels they sell. Dollars & Sense, July/August 2014. K. Boyce writes a commentary about how changing national policies to deal with climate change will also create wealth.
MSNBC.com, 8/10/14. Jonathan Rosa (anthropology) is a guest panelist on the Melissa Harris-Perry show discussing the idea of a “war on whites” that was recently suggested by a congressman from Alabama. Rosa says the idea is rooted in the notion that any discussion of race is racism, not racial inequality. He also says the war image evokes anxiety about other issues such as immigration and how non-whites are taking over parts of the country.
Techcrunch.com, 8/10/14. Deputy Chancellor Robert Feldman, former dean of SBS, is the chief scientific advisor to GetSet, an edtech startup company that seeks to reduce the high college dropout rate. “GetSet facilitates the rapid development of meaningful relationships and sense of connection with other students at the very start of college,” Feldman says. “In turn, this significantly raises the likelihood of future college success.” Forbes, 7/23/14. A story on lying in business cites a study done by Feldman and graduate student Mattityahu Zimbler. They found that people are more prone to lying when they are physically and psychologically distant from each other.
Boston Herald, 7/31/14. Eve Weinbaum (labor studies), director of the Labor Relations and Research Center, is quoted in coverage of the ongoing labor dispute between the new co-CEOs of Market Basket supermarkets and the company’s employees. Discussing the company’s decision to bring in replacement workers, Weinbaum says, “Many workers are very reluctant to apply for jobs in that situation because they know they are taking jobs away from others.”
MSNBC.com, 7/30/14. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, is quoted in a column describing misconceptions held by religious organizations following a recent executive order signed by President Obama barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT Weekly, 7/2/14, and many other outlets. Badgett is the subject of an extensive profile. In describing Badgett’s work on the issues of the economics of same-sex marriage, one fellow academic says she “was absolutely a pioneer….There was no one in economics who was really thinking about these issues.”
WGGB-TV 40, 7/24/14; Daily Hampshire Gazette, 7/23/14; Springfield Republican, 7/22/14. A feature story looks at the 24 Iraqi students who visited UMass Amherst as part of the UMass Civic Initiative’s Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program.The group hosted a talk and helped raise money for the Amherst Senior Center at an event being held at the Monkey Bar & Grill in downtown Amherst. Visiting Scholar Michael Hannahan (political science), director of the UMass Civic Initiative run by the Donahue Institute, comments.
Quartz, 7/23/14. Brian P. McDermott (journalism) discusses his experiences teaching in a blended learning classroom and incorporating external massive open online courses (MOOCs). He says he is able to take parts of his presentation that are boring, remedial, monotonous and binary and offer them through self-guided online lessons. A mixture of online instruction and face-to-face interactions, he says, is the future of higher education.
Los Angeles Times, 7/18/14. Shawn Shimpach (communication) says HGTV, the home improvement and lifestyle network, has become more popular during the last 20 years in part because compared to other networks on television it is pleasantly escapist. “Pick one of three homes and have a happy ending might be just what you need at the end of a hard day,” he says.
Recorder, 7/16/14; Daily Hampshire Gazette, 7/10/14. Elizabeth S. Chilton (anthropology), director of the Center for Heritage and Society, writes a column detailing how UMass Amherst conducts archaeology under permits from the Massachusetts Historical Commission and serves as caretakers for found objects. She refers to recent news stories about a Deerfield family that has allowed excavations on its property and want objects returned to them.
Inside Higher Ed, Huffington Post, 7/15/14. Sut Jhally (communication), commenting at a sexual assault summit at Dartmouth College, says the good news is that there is a growing awareness on college campuses that this is a problem that requires attention. The bad news, he says: “No one has been prepared to take up that challenge,” noting that if universities want to change the culture on their campuses they can, but it requires political will that is generally lacking.
US News & World Report, et al, via AP, continuing from 7/9/14 through 7/14/14. A story about a survey of the class of 2008, by the National Center for Education Statistics indicates what you study, not where you study, makes a difference when it comes to finding a high paying job after graduation. C.N. Le (sociology) comments that Asian students are gravitating toward career fields in math, science and technology that are initially higher paying, which likely explains the higher average salaries by Asian grads. Yet, they might be facing higher unemployment rates — almost 12% compared with 5.5% of white graduates — because of visa issues or policies by American businesses favoring U.S. citizens.
The Real News Network, 7/7/14. Jeannette Wicks-Lim PhD '05 (economics), research assistant professor at the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses a growing trend among the world's major corporations to voluntarily increase their workers' wages.
Truthout.org, 7/2/14. Elizabeth Krause (anthropology) coauthors an article on delay of funeral for victims of the Teresa Moda factory fire in Tuscany.
Education Week, 7/1/14. A paper by Kathryn A. McDermott (education policy), interim director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, and colleagues, finds that while school district leaders say desegregation is a priority, it rarely gets top billing or attention when it has to compete with shrinking school budgets, enrollment changes and achievement gaps.
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.
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