SBS Newsletter – Fall 2005
In this issue
Rifkin Named Dean
In May, after a national search, Janet Rifkin was named dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Interim dean since 2002, Rifkin is justifiably proud of SBS. “Our faculty,” she points out, “offer many of the most sought-after courses at UMass Amherst, serving nearly 5,000 undergraduate majors and many more students across campus. The stature of our graduate programs, among the best nationally, continues to grow. We are building new research opportunities and hiring from the very best new faculty. This promising academic environment offers contagious excitement.” Rifkin, former chair of Legal Studies, has also been associate dean of SBS, co-director of the Center for Information Technology and Dispute, ombudsperson, and director of the University Mediation Project. She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence and New York University School of Law.
$2.5 Million Gift Endows Adoption Studies
Demonstrating how one family’s generosity can leverage other sources of funding, a $2.5 million gift from Andrew and Virginia Rudd of California, combined with matching funds and $1.25 million from the state’s Public Higher Education Endowment Incentive Program, has endowed a $6.25 million professorship in psychology. The Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology, to be held by a preeminent international scholar, will develop a high-profile research program and lecture series related to adoption and child development and advance public policy in the field. The new professorship will be part of the Child, Adolescent and Family (CAF) concentration in the clinical division of the psychology department. It will also be affiliated with the Center for Research on Families in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
“Within psychology there are many areas of basic and clinical research that have important implications for understanding adoption and its effects,” says Sally Powers, head of the department’s clinical division. “These include studies of biological, emotional and social processes involved in attachment and bonding; the effect of stress and trauma, particularly early separation trauma; family processes such as parenting and marital relationships in families of origin and adoptive families; the interacting influence of genetics and the environment of child development, and factors that foster resiliency and coping in children exposed to early family disruptions.”
Dr. and Mrs. Rudd are the parents of Alexi Rudd ’04 (psychology/sociology). In 2000, the Rudd Family Foundation provided funding to create Rudd Field, an outstanding soccer facility for the men’s and women’s Division I teams. Andrew Rudd also is a founding director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation, Inc.
Nobel Laureate Jody Williams to Receive CPPA Public Service Award
On Thursday September 29 Jody Williams, founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, will be on campus to receive the Center for Public Policy and Administration’s 2005 Public Service Award. Among the day's activities will be her talk at 4:00 p.m: What you Do Matters: Creating Communities to Solve Global Problems. Free and open to the public, the event will take place in the Campus Center Auditorium. For details on the day’s activities go to the Center for Public Policy and Administration.
Williams is an eloquent and outspoken advocate for peace and human rights. One of only ten women globally to receive the Nobel Peace Prize—and only the third from the U.S.—Williams, as chief strategist and spokesperson for ICBL, has overseen the organization’s growth to include more than 1,300 NGOs in 85 countries. During the September 1997 Oslo diplomatic conference, in an unprecedented cooperative effort with governments, UN bodies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICBL achieved its goal of negotiating an international treaty to ban antipersonnel landmines. Since then, 133 countries have signed the treaty. Williams, now ICBL’s campaign ambassador, speaks on its behalf all over the world. As an activist for global social change, her accomplishments in humanitarian work have been extraordinary, all because she pondered a problem and found a way to create a solution.
Enrolling Hurricane Evacuees
In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, UMass Amherst is enrolling students displaced by the storm on a fast-track basis and supporting relief efforts for victims along the Gulf Coast. For details about admission for displaced students, families should contact the Admissions Office directly at (413) 545-0222.
In the week following the hurricane the admission office received about 60 inquiries from displaced students interested in attending UMass Amherst. By the time classes started on September 7 three first-year students and eight transfer students were enrolled. Other potential transfer students have made appointments with admissions counselors to discuss course selection. Because campus housing is tight, the first-year students will temporarily live in one of four local hotels with other UMass Amherst students.
“These students and their families are in need, and the campus community is focused on helping them,” said Kevin Kelly, director of admissions. “The Admissions staff is working closely with Financial Aid, the Registrar, the Bursar and the Office of Information Technologies to make all the necessary arrangements. Even those students who chose to enroll at another institution are very grateful for the consideration we have extended them.”
For more information on the University’s response, see President Jack Wilson’s report.
Student Leaders Reflect Excellence
At Commencement 2005, fourteen 21st Century Leaders were recognized for their academic accomplishments and exceptional achievements that enhance the the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s reputation. Six are graduates of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: Aviva T. Costello (psychology, Swampscott); Alexis M. Davison (psychology, West Milford, N.J.); Adina E. Giannelli (journalism/anthropology, Canton); Ashley M. Kalus (legal studies/finance and operations management, Boston); Anina Kostecki (political science, South Deerfield); and Peter G. Trovato (journalism/political science, North Attleboro).
Economics Professor Earns Recognition
Economics professor Nancy Folbre has been named one of 24 Russell Sage Foundation visiting scholars for 2005-06. With a focus on interconnections between feminist theory and political economy, she will work on a book about the economics of the “care sector,” paid and unpaid jobs that involve personal care of others. She is also the author of Who Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint. Folbre, who received a five-year MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1998, was named a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer last year. She earned her Ph.D. in economics at UMass Amherst in 1979.
Media Giraffe Project Seeks Above the Crowd Individuals
Did you ever get the feeling that our nation's media are failing to equip citizens with the knowledge they need to demand open, honest, accountable and participatory self government? If so, you're not alone and the Media Giraffe Project (MGP) is ready to do something about it. This research initiative, housed within the journalism program, is determined to help citizens find and support democracy-focused media, as consumers and creators. The program, which is research driven and nonpartisan, is finding and spotlighting “Media Giraffes,” individuals who are passionate, even idealistic about truth telling and fostering democracy, who have or are taking significant personal risk, who are often pioneering in “new” media, and who recognize that their efforts are in some way sustainable as an enterprise—profit or nonprofit. MGP examines entrepreneurs and mavericks within independent, local, new-media efforts as well as “giraffes” who are sticking their necks out in traditional major media. MGP also is developing tools for consumers to find and support objective, quantifiable, professional standards for media responsiveness to democratic values. For details see the MGP website.
Human Rights in Eastern Europe
As the first anthropologist to receive a European Union Policy Affairs Research Fellowship from the Fulbright Scholar Program, Krista Harper, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Public Policy and Administration, went to Eastern Europe last spring to study Roma human rights advances and attitudes. Roma, commonly misidentified as Gypsies, migrated to Europe from the Indian subcontinent in the 14th century and have long been regarded as outsiders and nomads by other Europeans.
“This perception leads the majority to believe they don’t have to care for them,” says Harper. Anti-Roma persecution peaked during the Nazi regime with deaths estimated as high as 220,000. More recently, the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and widespread unemployment rekindled anti-Roma hostility. Interested in what the prospects are for Roma social change in the coming decade, Harper says, “In 10 years there will be over 3 million Roma citizens in the EU. It is important to understand them as a minority now.”
Exploring Ethics in Politics and Governance
This year’s Johnson Award, presented by the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh, for Best Paper in Ethics and Accountability in the Public Sector in the “established scholar” category is Laura Jensen, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the Center for Public Policy and Administration. “Public Ethics, Legal Accountability, and the New Governance,” co-authored with Sheila Suess Kennedy of Indiana University in Indianapolis, will be in the new volume of Ethics in Public Management. Jensen also is author of Patriots, Settlers, and the Origins of American Social Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Depolarizing the Environment and Economics
For many, the environment is worth no more than the value of its extractable resources; air and water pollution are “reasonable” risks we run in pursuit of prosperity. So, who knows and wants what’s best? At June’s Desert Landscape Forum in Southern California, environmental activists turned to The New Environmental Activists, published by the Political Economy Research Institute at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UMass Amherst. This environmental polarity, the book says, is the most demanding challenge to environmental activists’ goals and describes the current state of affairs as powerfully manipulated by those who “continue to claim we must sacrifice our environment, and trade our rights to clean water, air and land in exchange for paychecks and a strong industrial economy.” Arguing that those who manage our affairs largely determine our cultural beliefs, it calls for leadership that will decide in favor of sustainable resource and economic management.
Global Job Shift
"The Changing Nature of Corporate Global Restructuring: The Impact of Production Shifts on Jobs in the U.S., China and Around the Globe,” co-authored by Stephanie Luce, assistant professor of Labor Studies and Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, suggests that federal officials are grossly underestimating the number of American jobs being sent overseas. The report, called for by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission because no government-mandated reporting system exists to track these shifts, documented 48,417 U.S. jobs outsourced to other countries or publicly announced as being scheduled for outsourcing from January through March 2004. For the same period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 4,633 private-sector jobs in companies with more than 50 employees were lost.
The researchers found global trends. European companies are shifting jobs to Eastern Europe and Asia; high-wage Asian countries are shifting to low-wage neighboring countries and to China. Also, white-collar service jobs, particularly those involving information technology and call centers, are going to India. This is especially difficult for U.S. workers because the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program offers income support, relocation and job search allowances, and a health coverage tax credit only to those who lost jobs that produced a “product.”
The U.S. Midwest lost the most jobs to outsourcing (18,968) from January through March 2004. The Southeast lost 8,604 and the Northeast 7,223. Hardest hit states were Illinois (7,555) and Michigan (5,283). Unionized jobs accounted for a disproportionate 39% of the jobs that moved to other countries during the period.
Excellence in classroom teaching, research and scholarly activity, and academic advising at UMass Amherst is recognized each year with the Distinguished Teaching Award, the campus’s most prestigious prize for classroom instruction. This year’s winners, three faculty members and two graduate teaching assistants came almost exclusively from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. They are Naomi Gerstel, professor of sociology; Nicholas McBride, associate professor of journalism; and teaching assistants Lena Zuckerwise, political science, and Ventura Perez, Commonwealth College and anthropology.
James K. Boyce, professor of economics, received one of the 2005-06 Samuel F. Conti Fellowships. Selection is based on demonstrably outstanding accomplishment and potential for continued excellence in research and scholarly or creative activity.
Leda Cooks, associate professor of communication, who has taught at UMass Amherst since 1993, received the University Distinguished Outreach Award. She also received one of four grants from the Provost's Committee on Service Learning, along with fellow communication faculty Erica Scharrer and Mari Paredes.
It's All About Communication
The Department of Communication was selected to contribute a paper, written by Leda Cooks, Erica Scharrer, and Michael Morgan, describing their work in Community Service Learning to a new volume called “The Engaged Department.” Over 100 academic departments across the country made submissions; nine were ultimately chosen.
Vernon Cronen’s research on the Coordinated Management of Meaning Theory is increasingly being used for systemic work in therapy and consultation in Europe. He has given presentations recently at numerous international contexts, including 2-day workshops in Gotenberg, Sweden for family therapists and Aarhus, Denmark for organizational consultants. He was also a featured speaker at the 20th anniversary of the founding of DISPUK (Danish centre for family therapy and organizational consultation) held in Crete, and at the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Kensington Consultation Centre (British centre for therapy and consultation).
Mari Paredes received a $10,000 grant from the Mentoring Committee of the Graduate Council to support her Graduate Student Mentoring project on “Balancing Graduate School and Motherhood.”
The Journalism program was selected as this year's recipient of the Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom (TLDC) grant from the Center for Teaching, thanks to the efforts of director Karen List. TLDC offers the department an opportunity to explore teaching and learning issues important for UMass Amherst’s increasingly diverse student population. TLDC recipients are not necessarily experts on diversity issues, but they have a genuine love of teaching and learning and are willing to participate in the creative process of fusing the best practices in teaching and learning with an understanding of how to create and sustain classrooms that nurture the success of all students.
Arab Rule of Law
David Mednicoff, assistant professor of legal studies, has been awarded the 2005-06 Faculty Development Grant from the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA) at UMass Amherst. Mednicoff will further his comparative study of the rule of law in four Arab societies and its significance for Middle Eastern democratization and American foreign policy. Mednicoff’s research also includes the shifting nature of sovereignty and its relation to international humanitarian intervention, the stability of contemporary Middle Eastern monarchies, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Fluent in six languages, Mednicoff is an expert in Middle Eastern politics, international and comparative law, human rights and globalization theory. He is a frequent commentator on the Middle East for local, national and international media.
Julie Robenhymer ’04 (journalism), the reigning Miss New Jersey, isn't entirely comfortable with being called beautiful, according to a June Associated Press article. The 24-year-old, who will compete in the Miss America Pageant, would rather talk about how beauty pageants gave her confidence and self-worth. “I learned so much about who I am,” said Robenhymer, a pageant competitor since age 9. “It made me a really goal-oriented person.…I wouldn't be…in pageants if I thought it was just a flesh parade.”
International Visitors Observe Democracy in Action
Eighteen professors who teach American politics and democracy in Mongolia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, France and Canada came to UMass Amherst this summer for the Civics Initiative program, directed by Michael Hannahan, lecturer in political science. A three-year grant from the U.S. State Department funds the six weeks of lectures, community events, and travel. Among the activities was a trip to Town Meeting in nearby Pelham to see 81 residents, clutching yellow voter cards, ready to deal with the budget. University of Baghdad Professor Abdul Jabbar was interested to see “democracy on the ground.” Jabbar, who lectures on national unity, wants to transfer some of his findings to his country.
National Award Named for Peter Rossi
The Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) has created an annual award in honor of Peter H. Rossi, professor emeritus of sociology and director emeritus of the Social and Demographic Research Institute (SADRI). The award honors Rossi’s lifetime achievements by recognizing important contributions to the theory or practice of program evaluation. The first Rossi Award, which includes a plaque and $2,000, will be presented at APPAM’s conference this November in Washington, D.C.
Rossi joined the sociology department and SADRI in 1974 after teaching at Harvard University, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University, where he chaired the Department of Social Relations and directed the Center for Metropolitan Planning and Research. His career included notable research on homelessness, community action programs, gun crime, parent-child relationships and home ownership. A former president of the American Sociological Association, Rossi was a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at UMass Amherst. He holds degrees from the College of the City of New York and Columbia University.
Save the Date: UMass Amherst Conservative Reunion
On Saturday, October 8 on campus Greg Rothman ’89 (political science) is hosting a reunion for UMass Amherst alumni who were involved with conservative groups on campus in the 1980s and 1990s. Scheduled events include a tailgate party at McGuirk Alumni Stadium prior to the 1:00 p.m. football game against Northeastern and dinner that evening. Family and friends are welcome. To date more than a dozen individuals have confirmed that they will attend. For details or to RSVP, email Greg at email@example.com.
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 departments and programs of Anthropology, Communication (which is the home of Journalism), Economics, Labor Studies, Legal Studies, Neuroscience and Behavior, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, and Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. With 37,000 alumni, 5,000 undergraduate majors, and 500 graduate students, SBS is the largest of UMass Amherst’s colleges. In addition to its departments, it is home to numerous programs and research institutions. Through the general education courses that SBS offers, the College’s 150 faculty members teach one quarter of the 17,000 undergraduates on campus.
Gifts from alumni and friends are critical to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Your investment allows us to create remarkable opportunities for today’s students. If you are already a donor, please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please consider a donation to SBS for your department, financial aid, or a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities. To make a gift online, click here. Questions? Contact
Ellen Leuchs, Director of Development
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
University of Massachusetts Amherst
202 South College
Amherst, MA 01003
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