April 2015 Newsletter

In this Issue

Dr. Gerald Epstein Receives Prestigious Awards

Gerald Epstein (economics), founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), has received the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest honor given by the campus in recognition of service to the University, along with the Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Award.

SBS Names Outstanding Teachers for 2015

This year’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award goes to Enobong Hannah Branch, associate professor of sociology, and Claudio Moreira, associate professor of communication.

Social Science Matters: Jackie Urla

Jacqueline Urla, professor of anthropology and director of the Modern European Studies Program, has also been very active in film studies. Her areas of specialization are in cultural and linguistic anthropology.

Alumni Spotlight: Kyung-wha Kang

A Global Perspective on Humanitarianism: Amid political upheaval, violent conflicts and a humanitarian crisis affecting over 2.7 million people, Kyung-wha Kang ’81 (communication) MA, ’84 PhD recently traveled to the Central African Republic and Cameroon to assess the situation in person.

Other Topics of Interest

Social Science Matters: James Boyce

James Boyce

James Boyce is a Professor of Economics and Director of the Program of Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment at the Political Economy Research Institute. His research interests include development and environmental economics, with a particular interest in the impact of inequalities of wealth and power and the dynamics of conflict. 

2015-2016 Institute for Social Science Research Scholars Announced

ISSR Scholars

Three members of the SBS faculty have been named 2015-2016 ISSR Scholars.

Feel Good Friday: LARP Lasts a Lifetime

George Fogg

George Fogg graduated from UMass in 1957. He was one of nine other graduates of the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning department. But turning 80 in June and living on a golf course in sunny Florida doesn’t persuade Fogg to retire anytime soon.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Beth Davalos ’90

Beth Davalos ’90 (sociology) has been awarded the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Social Science Matters: Lynn Phillips

Lynn Phillips is a Senior Lecturer and Chief Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Communication. For the past 25 years she has been conducting research on hookup culture, violence against women, and access to education. 

Sylvia Brandt Selected to Join Center for Research on Families Family Research Scholars

Sylvia Brandt

Sylvia Brandt, associate professor of resource economics and public policy, is one of six faculty members chosen to be part of the 2015-16 CRF Family Research Scholars Program. "I am deeply honored to be working with CRF and this stellar group of scholars," says Brandt.

Feel Good Friday: The Future of 3D at UMass

Department Chair of Resource Economics Dan Lass, Emeritus Professor Richard Rogers, and Mark Schulze ’97 (resource economics) at the grand opening of the new MakerBot Innovation Center in the Du Bois Library.

UMass has opened the very first large-scale MakerBot Innovation Center at a university library. MakerBot is leading the industry in desktop 3D printing, scanning, and entertainment, and will provide this access in the new state-of-the-art center located in Du Bois Library to students, faculty, and the community. And to make it even more impressive, the General Manager of the Americas and Emerging Markets for MakerBot is Resource Economics Alum Mark Schulze ’97!

Alumni News | Department and Faculty News
SBS in the News | A Word from SBS

Alumni News

Dr. Patrick Campbell ’10 (political science) wrote an article titled “The Concept of Representation in American Political Development” that was featured in the newest issue of Polity, the official peer-reviewed journal of the Northeastern Political Science Association.

Jed Winer ’12 (journalism) has recently accepted a position as an associate producer with National Geographic's News/Video division in Washington, D.C.

Brittney Figueira ’14 (journalism) has recently accepted a position as a news director at WCBD-TV in Charleston, South Carolina.

Chris Evans ’92 (journalism) spoke to Advanced Photojournalism students on February 26. Evans is an award-winning staff photographer at the Boston Herald.

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Department and Faculty News

Eight students from Kathy Roberts Forde's (journalism) class, “The African American Freedom Struggle and the Mass Media,” spent the first weekend of spring break in Boston touring historical sites pertinent to the Civil Rights Movement.

Mike Hannahan (political science) is interviewed about a recent trip to Pakistan with a group of teachers from Amherst-Pelham Regional High School.

Gerald Friedman (economics) released a new study on the potential cost savings if New York state were to implement a single-payer, universal health care system.

The CPPA team in Thailand met with a couple who are successfully restoring a mangrove to help protect against coastal hazards. Read more.

Jennifer Lundquist (sociology) has a new report that asks the question, “What do lesbians and white heterosexual men have in common?” Read it here.

Razvan Sibii (journalism) was recently interviewed by Radio France Internationale Romania about the potential modification of the Visa Waiver program and the U.S. Senate's unwillingness to confirm ambassadorial nominees.

Shaheen Pasha (journalism) recently published an article in The Daily Beast about the Muslim Tinder. She was also a guest speaker at a Boston University class that focuses on ISIS and terrorism.

Arindrajit Dube (economics) has been awarded a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation for his project “Minimum wages and low wage work: an assessment of new methods and new measures.”

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SBS in the News

[Some websites may require individual user registration]

Truth-Out, 3/29/15. Amy Schalet (sociology) is interviewed about her research on different attitudes about teenage sexuality in the U.S. and the Netherlands. She says both parents and teenagers in the Netherlands have a much more open and positive view of sexuality.

Recorder, 3/26/15. George Forcier, a lecturer in journalism for the past 25 years, has been named the editor of The Recorder, Greenfield’s daily newspaper. Forcier has been the managing editor for more than 25 years. He replaces Tim Blagg who retired after 28 years at the paper.

Financial Times, 3/26/15. The book “The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism,” by David M. Kotz (economics) is reviewed.

The Guardian, 3/26/15. The research of Arindrajit Dube (economics) is referenced in a story about whether London should adopt its own minimum wage. Dube is also cited in Fortune, 3/23/15 and Vox.com, 3/19/15 in a story about why Target is raising its minimum pay rate to $9 per hour. Dube also supports indexing the minimum wage to inflation and taking into account the local cost of living when setting the rates.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/25/15. Josh Odam ’17 (political science/legal studies) was among the speakers at a forum “Race, Invisibility and Hyper-visibility,” held at the Jones Library on March 24.

The Conversation, 3/20/15. David M. Mednicoff (public policy), director of Middle Eastern studies, says the recent terrorist attack in Tunisia was prompted by that country’s success in making the transition from an oppressive regime to one that more accurately reflects both social inclusion and Islamic and secular values. He says extremist groups don’t want to see progress on those fronts and that’s why they want to weaken the new government in Tunisia.

The Real News Network, 3/19/15. Klara Zwickl, a postdoctoral researcher at the Political Economy Research Institute, is interviewed about a recent report she co-authored with economists Michael Ash and James K. Boyce, both of the PERI, on environmental inequality. The study shows that poor people and racial minorities are disproportionately affected by pollution exposure.

CNN.com, 3/19/15; New Scientist, 3/18/15. The research of Laurie Godfrey, professor emerita of anthropology, and Alfred Rosenberger, professor of anthropology and archaeology at Brooklyn College is profiled. In the fall 2014 the researchers found thousands of specimens of extinct giant lemurs during the first exploration of three deep underwater inland caves on the island of Madagascar, off of the southeastern coast of Africa.

Deseret News [Utah], 3/19/15. Valley Advocate, 3/18/15. Research conducted by Michele Budig (sociology) on the pay gap encountered by women and how it is more severe for mothers, is cited in multiple stories.

Washington Post, 3/18/15. Ray La Raja (political science) says recent comments from Donald Trump that he plans to launch an exploratory committee to run for president in 2016 is an effort to show that he wants to be taken seriously. He says candidates traditionally begin by “testing the waters” and if that doesn’t make the candidate a serious contender, they move on to the exploratory committee. “If you are not a front-runner you may choose to form an exploratory committee early to signal strongly that you are in the game.” 

NBC News, 3/18/15. C.N. Le (sociology) says there is a set of stereotypes that people make about Asian Americans. “It’s the idea of the model minority; that Asian Americans are successful, high income, studious, hardworking, quiet,” he says. The comments are in a story about why that stereotype isn’t true for many people and that Asian Americans are subject to the same economic realities and class and income inequality that affects all Americans.

Triple Pundit, 3/18/15. Orlando Sentinel, 3/10/15. Michael Ash (economics) says one way for cities to adjust to a changing economy is to maintain a level of economic diversity. “A diverse economy permits less painful adjustment and creates greater possibility that the next big thing is already present,” Ash says.

Business West, WGGB-TV 40, 3/17/15. Gerald Epstein (economics) discussed restructuring the financial sector as part of his March 24 Distinguished Faculty Lecture, titled “When Big is Too Big: Do the Financial System’s Social Benefits Justify Its Size?” The talk was held in the Goodell Building’s Bernie Dallas Room. Following his talk, Epstein received the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition given for service to the campus.

Washington Post, 3/16/15. Jarice Hanson (communication) says people create two worlds for themselves when they have a cell phone. She is the author of “24/7: How Cell Phones and the Internet Change the Way We Live, Work, and Play.” Hanson says one world includes parents and families, but there is also a more private, portable, siloed world apart from everybody else.

Chain Drug Review, 3/16/15. Thomas F. Juravich (sociology) says Walmart’s recent move to increase its base pay rate above the federal minimum wage is a symbolic victory for the company. He says firms use this technique to fend off calls for an even higher minimum wage such as the $15 per hour sought by many activists.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/13/15; WGGB-TV 40, 3/12/15. Frank Vatrano ’16 (communication), the top goal scorer on the UMass hockey team, has signed a free agent contract with the Boston Bruins of the NHL – giving up his final two years of eligibility to play for the Minutemen. Vatrano is an East Longmeadow native.

Times Union [Albany], Buffalo Business First, 3/10/15. A report completed by Gerald Friedman (economics) for state lawmakers in New York says a universal health care bill will save taxpayers $45 billion per year. He says, “This is a political problem: the economics is clear.” He called on the governor and state lawmakers to implement the program.

Killeen Daily News, 3/10/15. Michael A. Ash (economics) comments in a story about the economic diversity of Killeen, Texas. Ash says cities such as Killeen should avoid using tax breaks to attract big employers. “Local leadership should avoid the subsidy trap, offering enormous tax breaks to try to attract a big employer,” Ash says.

Mom.me, 3/6/15. The research of Amy Schalet (sociology) is cited in a story about when to begin having frank talks about sex with young children.

Washington Post, 3/5/15. A feature story looks at UMass basketball star Derrick Gordon ’15 (sociology) who came out as gay last spring. Gordon explains that he did not experience any negative comments or actions directed at him during this year’s men’s basketball season, even at very conservative schools.

Charlotte Observer, 3/4/15. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, commented on a proposed city ordinance in Charlotte, N.C., that would have prevented discrimination against LGBT people. It was rejected on a 6-5 vote. Badgett says her research shows that companies say they want to attract the best employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. She also noted that North Carolina has legalized same-sex marriage, but the council’s action conflicts with that. “The conflict between the reality and potential for discrimination with the equal status in this other realm could really confuse people and make it less likely they would want to move there,” she says.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 3/2/15. Sigrid Schmalzer (history and director of the STPEC program), organized a meeting of Science for the People on March 7 at 7 p.m. in Herter 601. The group is focused on using science for social and environmental justice.

Springfield Republican, 2/27/15. Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy has named a 15-member committee to review the campus policy on admission of international students while complying with federal laws. The move is in reaction to the controversy created when UMass Amherst officials announced, and then reversed, a policy that barred Iranian nationals from some graduate programs in engineering and natural sciences. The new committee is co-chaired by Elizabeth Chilton, associate vice chancellor for research and engagement, and Timothy Anderson, dean of the College of Engineering.

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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.

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