University of Massachusetts Amherst

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SBS Newsletter – February 2007

In this issue

Steve Soler at work

The Art of the Possible: Alum Transforms Brownfields into Green Community
It all starts with a vision. And Steve Soler ’82 (economics) makes it his business to turn a vision into a reality. More specifically, Soler, as president of Georgetown Land Development Company, LLC, and owner of the former Redding, Connecticut, Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill, is transforming the property into a green, Smart Growth Transit Oriented Development. Read more...

Sara Lennox

Lennox Assumes Presidency of German Studies Association
Sara Lennox, director of the Social Thought and Political Economy Program and professor of German and Scandinavian Studies, last month began a two-year term as president of the German Studies Association (GSA), a 1,600-member organization of North American and international scholars who focus on all aspects of German-speaking countries. Read more....

And other topics of interest...

Uncommon Leadership Series Features Kenneth Feinberg '67
The Uncommon Leadership series, led by University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson and Glenn Mangurian '70 (mathematics), MBA '73, founder of the UMass Executive Alumni Group, examines leadership today with well-known individuals outside traditional business organizations. The online series also includes guest commentaries. Currently featured is Kenneth Feinberg ’67 (history), Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and author of What is Life Worth? The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11. Read more...

David Mednicoff, right, with US Ambassador Chase Untermeyer and students in  his classroom at the University of QatarCalling Qatar: Checking in with Professor David Mednicoff
David Mednicoff (legal studies; public policy and administration) is in Qatar for the year as a Fulbright Scholar doing research and teaching. With him are his wife, Joya Misra (sociology) and their four-year-old daughter, Amina. UMass Magazine checked in with Mednicoff this past October to talk about his work on the rule of law in Arab society and life in Qatar. Read article in UMass Magazine. Since that story appeared, Mednicoff spoke at the London “Seminar on Political Change in the Gulf Cooperation Council” on the rule of law in Arab countries with particular reference to Qatar. Government ministers from the Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, along with policymakers and academics from the Gulf region, the United Kingdom and the United States attended.

SBS logoStudents: Check Out Internship and Scholarship Opportunities
SBS is eager for all of its students to participate in internship opportunities during their academic careers. Internships can add invaluable real world elements to classroom experiences. As part of SBS's plan to increase availability of programs for its students, the College has been reaching out to alumni who might be interested in sponsoring meaningful experiences. The SBS website offers a listing of several alumni-sponsored internships. Click here for more details and applications. Please note: Don't delay—deadlines are looming. Also, numerous scholarships—for study abroad, internships, or general expenses—are available through the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Click here for a listing.

David PearsonAlum Pearson Named VP for Partnership Affairs at UTB/TSC
David Pearson '79 (sociology) has been named Vice President for Partnership Affairs at University of Texas Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. With the university since 1997 as professor of sociology in the Behavioral Sciences Department, Pearson for the past two years has been president of the Academic Senate. Read more...

Sut JhallyJhally to Deliver Distinguished Faculty Lecture
Sut Jhally (communication) will give a Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Thursday, March 8 at 4 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room in Goodell Hall. In his talk,“The Factory in the Living Room: How Television Exploits its Audience,” Jhally will discuss how media critics tend to focus on the ways powerful messages in movies, programs and advertising affect the public. He contends, however, they miss something else. Read more...

Cartoon about student debtAccess to Higher Education is a Must, Says Kennedy
A Boston Globe column by U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy says Congress must take a number of steps this year to fix the federal student aid system as it begins work on renewing the federal Higher Education Act. Currently, he says, 400,000 qualified students a year don't attend a four-year college because they can't afford it, and unreasonable student debt is causing many young Americans to delay marriage, postpone buying a home, and even abandon careers in vital but lower-paying jobs such as teaching, law enforcement, and social work. Read the article.

Keith Lockhart conductingUniversity of Massachusetts Night at the Pops 2007 Symphony Hall, Boston
Recognizing Excellence in Education and featuring Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, Thursday, May 10, 2007, 8:00-10:00pm (Doors open at 7:00pm). Tickets range from $20 to $125 per person. You can also "sponsor a student" for $20. Don't miss out. Reserve seats now! For more information call 617-287-5772 or email.

SBS in the News
Boston Globe, 2/27/07. Ray La Raja (political science) comments in a story about a potential violation of campaign finance laws by Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California who is running television advertisements in New Hampshire. Says La Raja, "If the FEC doesn't enforce this and do it in an airtight way, then others will surely exploit it." Read the article...

Baltimore Sun, 2/25/07. Robert Pollin (economics and director of the Political Economy Research Institute) comments in a story about the debate underway in the Baltimore County school system on raising pay rates for its lowest-paid workers. He says that the school board's debate mirrors the continuing national discussion on acceptable wages for the lowest-paid workers. "Yes, $20 million is a lot of money, but if people believe in a concept of some minimally reasonable pay, they have to be willing to pay. It's all about establishing some decent standards for people who are making a contribution to society and the economy." Read the article... (free registration required)

Zmagazine, 2/20/07. A column by Richard D. Wolff (economics) offers commentary on what he sees as the decline in public higher education as the costs continue to soar. He writes in part, "Costs have been rising far faster than the general level of inflation. We are on a collision course in which a historic demand for higher education—which has now become an embedded expectation for half the population—confronts a rapidly escalating rationing of enrollment by cost. Social tensions and rising resentment and anger are sure to follow." Read the article...

Washington Post, 2/19/07. A lengthy article about lying, the result of the trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who is charged with lying to a grand jury, discusses in considerable depth experiments by Robert Feldman (psychology and associate dean of SBS). Feldman says lying is actually quite commonplace and often done to gain social popularity or to spare other people’s feelings. Feldman has found that liars tend to be more popular than honest people. "It is not that lying makes you popular," he says, "but knowing when to say something and not be completely blunt is in fact a social skill," Feldman said. "We don't want to hear hurtful things, so a person who is totally honest may not be as popular as someone who lies. This is not to say lying is a good thing, but it is the way the social world operates." Read the article... Feldman is also extensively cited in a similar article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (2/22/07).

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, Economics, Journalism, Labor Studies, Legal Studies, Neuroscience and Behavior, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy and Administration, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. With 38,000 alumni, 5,000 current 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 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 donation to SBS for your department, student financial aid, or a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities. To make a gift online, click here. Questions? Contact:
Eric Yates, Director of Development
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
236 Draper Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
40 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9244
(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, marketing and communication specialist. If you wish to add your name to the mailing list, or if you wish to unsubscribe, please write to the SBS Newsletter. 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.

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Draper Hall • University of Massachusetts Amherst • 40 Campus Center Way • Amherst, MA 01003-9244 • Tel: 413.545.4173 • Fax: 413.577.0905
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Draper Hall University of Massachusetts 40 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003-9244 (413) 545-4173 FAX: (413) 577-0905