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SBS Newsletter – February 2011

In this issue

David CortSociologist Specializes in Immigration
When Assistant Professor David Cort (sociology), associate director of the Social and Demographic Research Institute, was nine years old, he emigrated to the U.S. with his parents from Guyana, South America (via Dominica, West Indies)—and the seeds for his interest in immigrant incorporation were sown. “I know what it’s like to not know the norms of a strange country,” he remembers, “and being made fun of because you speak differently. I know what it’s like to see a parent take a job that doesn’t match his skill level and to live with relatives for extended periods of time while getting grounded.” Read more...

Sean DonovanUndergraduate Research Opportunity Lays Groundwork for Future Study
Before coming to UMass, Sean Donovan ’11 (social thought and political economy) attended Hampshire College, pursuing a self-designed major in political theory and architecture. Through the Five College Consortium he became involved in a joint activist and academic program at UMass and discovered several innovative programs, like STPEC. “At Hampshire the academic support and guidance didn’t match my style of learning,” Donovan recalls. “For me UMass had clearer opportunities—such as the LeBovidge Undergraduate Research Scholarship—to do innovative and creative work.” Read more...

Ben BrodyPhotojournalist, GI Bill Student Reflects on War Experience
“People often ask for advice on how to become a ‘war photographer,"” says Ben Brody ’12 (journalism), who has been embedded in the Middle East several times and is attending UMass on the GI Bill. “There’s no good answer, everyone has a unique story—no standardized career path will lead you to the heart of darkness.” Read more...

Jessica Aither brushing a shell in WGBY ad

SBS Ad Airs on WGBY
Last fall each of the schools and colleges on campus contracted with WGBY Public Television (Springfield) to create a series of ads for the university, aimed at prospective students and focused on individual strengths. With only 30 seconds to do the job, SBS created a spot that highlighted quality of instruction, strength of faculty, and out of classroom opportunities—like internships, undergraduate research experiences and study abroad. The ad features anthropology major Jessica Aither ’11 with her honors advisor Professor Elizabeth Chilton MA ’91, PhD ’96 (anthropology). Read more and view the ad.

And other topics of interest...

dollar billsFinancial Aid to be Increased
The UMass system is increasing grants for financial aid up to $130.5 million this year, a 19% increase from last year, says Jack M. Wilson, UMass president. Of that total, about $85.3 million goes to students at the flagship Amherst campus, where about 65% of undergraduates receive some level of financial aid. During the past eight years, financial aid has risen 267% from $35.6 million, according to Wilson. Read more...

SBS logoScholarships for SBS Students
Applications for SBS scholarships are now available for undergraduates. Deadlines vary, but the first round is coming up on March 10. Don't miss out on these opportunities...more than $60,000 will ultimately be distributed. Click here for more information and applications.

STS logoEthics in Science and Engineering National Clearinghouse (ESENCe)
The ESENCe Beta Site—a digital repository developed by SBS's National Center for Digital Government; Science, Technology and Society Initiative; and Center for Public Policy and Administration in partnership with the University Libraries at UMass Amherst—has released several reports which advance knowledge and practice of ethics in science and engineering. The reports, which explore the need for a broader, multi-disciplinary ethics community of practice and incorporation of social science research into ethics theory and practice, are available through the project's website.

Nancy FolbreEthics for Economists
Experts from all academic fields offer opinion in the news. But The American Economics Association has never developed an official code of ethics on what to disclose personally and financially. On public radio's Marketplace, Professor Nancy Folbre (economics) says she hopes that will change in the interest of creating more transparency and eliminating conflicts of interest. Read more and listen to the broadcast.

Ventura PerezPérez Nominated for NAGPRA Review Committee
Ventura Pérez
(anthropology) is one of three nominees for the NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) review committee of the National Park Service. The Secretary of the Interior Review appoints committee members—only seven nationally—from nominations by Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, traditional Native American religious leaders, national museum organizations, and scientific organizations. Pérez's nomination came from the Society of American Archaeologists, quite an honor!

World Economic Forum logo logoFountain Leads Session at World Economic Forum
When the World Economic Forum (WEF) opened on January 26 in Davos, Switzerland, Jane Fountain (political science and public policy), director of the National Center for Digital Government, and director of the Science, Technology and Society Initiative, was one of 300 people worldwide in attendance—and only 20% of them were women. As chair of the WEF's Global Advisory Council on the Future of Government, Fountain is moderating a closed-door session for government, NGO, and business leaders on New Media and the Future of Government. Read more about Fountain and her role with WEF, et al.

Upcoming Events
Bookmark the Events Calendar on the SBS website. There you'll find a listing of upcoming events related to the programs and departments in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences of interest to alumni, students, faculty and/or friends. View it by week, by month, or as a listing.

From time to time the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences sponsors lectures, panels and programs that may be of special interest to alumni. Most of these take place on campus, generally in the late afternoon or early evening, and are free. While most are organized well in advance and are publicized on the SBS event calendar, sometimes they develop quickly in response to political and social events. For example, with the recent unrest in Arab countries, a group of SBS faculty very quickly organized a discussion of those events and their implications. Notice was short: only three days. If you are interested in receiving notification of these events, let us know and we'll put you on a listserv.

Alumni News
Victor Woolridge ’80 (legal studies), a UMass trustee since 2009, has been named chairman of the board’s administration and finance committee. Woolridge, who lives in Springfield, MA, is vice president of Cornerstone Real Estate Investment Advisers LLC in Hartford.

Ian Gurfield ’00 (STPEC) owns Ian’s, a Madison, Wisconsin, pizza institution, that successfully used Facebook to help feed demonstrators who congregated at the statehouse to dispute the anti-union bill. Gurfield, a former employee of Amherst's beloved Antonio’s, took the concept to Madison, with the Amherst business’s blessing, and he now has Ian’s Pizza shops in Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. Read more...

Shaneka Davis ’09 (journalism) is in Romania, working as a Peace Corps volunteer. She is currently helping Habitat for Humanity build homes for poor families.

Eric Athas ’08 (journalism), who writes for the Washington Post, published "The Story Behind the Ice Cream Cone Man," about an image of a coatless young man racing through a major snowstorm holding the sweet--and cold—treat that appeared on the front page of an earlier edition of the paper. Getting the story behind the story...because people want to know! Read the article.

Matthew Farrey ’90 (communication) is director of development at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC.

William Bennett ’87 (political science), senior development officer at Wellesley College, passed the CFRE exam, making him a Certified Fund Raising Executive.

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.

Department/Faculty News
Stuart Shulman (political science), director of the UMass-based Qualitative Data Analysis Program, gave lectures on "Measuring Validity in Annotation" at the University of Illinois Chicago and Northwestern University on February 3 and 4. Shulman, a leading social science researcher in the field of text annotation, is the sole inventor of the Coding Analysis Toolkit (CAT), an open source, Web-based text analysis software project, as well as the Public Comment Analysis toolkit (PCAT) and a new analytic network known as DiscoverText.

The National Science Foundation has posted the white papers that its Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) solicited. SBE asked authors, including Elizabeth Chilton (anthropology), chair of the department and director of the Center for Heritage and Society on campus, to outline grand challenge questions that are both foundational and transformative as they frame innovative research that enhances fundamental knowledge. Chilton's paper, "A Call for the Social Science of the Past," highlights UMass as a leader in the burgeoning field of heritage. Click here for more information about SBE; click here for link to Chilton's paper.

Peter Kumble (landscape architecture and regional planning) received a 2011 Learn and Serve Fellowship from Commonwealth Honors College. One of five faculty across campus to receive this year's fellowship, Kumble will develop the community service learning component of his field study course (LA 591G) focused on sustainable eco-tourism issues in Guatemala. The course already has developed a composting facility in Guatemala City and created plans for visitor facilities at the ancient Mayan site and present-day village of La Compuerta.

Carol E. Heim (economics) has been awarded a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, for Hilary Term 2012 (January 15 to March 10).  Visiting Fellows engage in study and research in Oxford and participate in the academic life of the College. Heim’s project is a comparison of urban growth and property development in Chicago in the nineteenth century and Phoenix in the twentieth.

Journalism brings lots of guest speakers to campus. In February Brad Tuttle's Intro to Multimedia Reporting class hosted Jeff Wagenheim, an editor for the Boston Globe sports department for more than 20 years who now covers mixed martial arts for Sports Illustrated online. Later in the month, award-winning filmmaker Jeff Zimbalist spoke and showed his riveting documentary "The Two Escobars," thanks to funding from Elisa Thomas ’95 (journalism).

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has produced a music video with recording artists Tom Juravich (labor studies) and Teresa Healy to highlight the exodus of Ontario's home care professionals from an unstable work environment. Read more...

Professor Emeritus Ethan Katsh (legal studies) was the keynote speaker at the 10th International Forum on Online Dispute Resolution in Chennai, India, February 7-9, 2011. Katsh, who is the director of SBS's National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, is the 2010-2011 Fulbright Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, Israel.

Prof. Emeritus Alan Swedlund (anthropology) has published Shadows in the Valley: A History of Illness, Death and Loss in New England, 1840-1916 (UMass Press, 2010). Exploring the impact of changing medical practices on ordinary people from mid-19th- to early 20th-century America, Swedlund closely examines the history of mortality in several small communities in western Massachusetts—from just before the acceptance of the germ theory of disease through the early days of public health reform in the United States. He says, "It used resources from right here in the Valley for its case studies, involved lots of UMass and SBS connections over the years while I was researching it, and has a very photogenic cover and many historical photos inside. It is an academic book, but written for general audiences." For more information, click here.

The Department of Political Science in conjunction with the Civic Initiative Speaker Series hosted Andrew S. Natsios, speaking on "The Future of Sudan." Natsios is a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and served as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, 2001–06. He is the author of U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1997) and The Great North Korean Famine (2001), with a forthcoming third, Sudan and Darfur: What Everyone Needs to Know.

Jan Servaes (communication), director of the Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC) center, recently returned from a lecture and conference tour in Hong Kong, China and Thailand. Read more...

SBS in the News
Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/27/11. A column by Tom Juravich (labor studies) notes that strong public-sector unions will boost the recovery of the U.S. economy. Efforts to undermine public workers' unions, he says, will just lower the overall wealth of people and will compromise public services that the public supports.

Boston Globe, 2/26/11. Eve Weinbaum (labor relations), director of the Labor Center, says Stop & Shop Supermarket Company needs to participate in an effort by Florida farm workers to pay more for tomatoes and improve the pickers' working conditions. She says the only way to improve working conditions is for the whole industry to support proposed new rules. WHMP, "The 9 O'Clock Show," 2/24/11. Host Bill Newman discusses the war on collective bargaining and the protests in Wisconsin with Weinbaum.

The Real News Network, 2/25/11. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, and Jeff Thompson (PERI) discuss the movement in Wisconsin and other states to cut public sector wages, the impact such cuts would have on the overall economy, and the real causes of these fiscal predicaments. The Nation, 2/16/11. An article by Pollin and Thompson, "The Betrayal of Public Workers," discusses why public sector workers and their unions are not responsible for the budgetary problems that have emerged out of the Great Recession. The Real News Network, 1/26/11. Pollin discusses President Obama’s State of the Union address and why more attention needs to be paid to states that are facing their own fiscal problems.

Springfield Republican, 2/25/11. Gerald Epstein (economics), chair of the department and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, says rising gasoline prices caused by political unrest in the Middle East could damage the fragile economic recoveries underway in the U.S. and Europe.  The Real News Network, 1/20/11. Epstein says Republican control of the U.S. House likely means that there will be efforts to weaken new regulations on Wall Street. He also believes that the Frank-Dodd legislation was watered down to achieve passage in Congress and, from a regulatory perspective, Republican influence will make it even weaker.

Brattleboro Reformer, 2/24/11. John Mullin (landscape architecture and regional planning), dean of the Graduate School and director of the Center for Economic Development, comments in a story about efforts to plan for the economic future of Windham County in Vermont if the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closes down.

Springfield Republican, 2/24/11. David Mednicoff (public policy), acting director of Social Thought and Political Economy, says accusations that Moammar Gadhafi ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 fit in with his generally unpredictable behavior over the years. He says Gadhafi justified his rule over Libya based on anti-western and anti-colonial sentiments. WWLP-TV 22, 2/24/11. Mednicoff comments in a television report on the unrest in Libya and elsewhere. Russia Today "Cross Talk on Political Theater," 2/11/11. Mednicoff was a guest on Peter Lavelle's television program, discussing global democracy promotion and why it tends to yield unintended consequences. The Emily Rooney Show [WGBH radio, Boston], WGBY-TV 57 “Connecting Point,” 1/31/11. Mednicoff discusses the protests in Egypt and what it may mean for U.S. foreign policy. CorreioBraziliense [Brazil, published in Portuguese], 1/31/11. Mednicoff comments on the political unrest in Egypt. Boston Globe, Truth-out.org, 1/30/11. Mednicoff writes about how the U.S. government has traditionally supported secular governments in the Arab world, which has often meant backing autocratic and repressive regimes. He says the recent revolution in Tunisia and the unfolding events in Egypt show how the U.S. policy has often led to backing the wrong side in democratic calls for open government in the Arab world.

Phillipine Daily Inquirer, 2/24/11. A story cites a report by James K. Boyce (economics) showing that wages of unskilled and skilled workers in the Phillipines declined annually during the rule of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos was ousted from power 25 years ago.

EarthTechLing.com, 2/23/11. A news story notes that a recent report by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) says new anti-pollution regulations will create jobs, not kill jobs, as asserted by many conservatives in Congress. The report, by Ceres and James Heintz, associate director of PERI, also supports the idea of making power plants cleaner and more efficient. Colorado Independent, 2/15/11. A Congressman from Colorado is criticizing new EPA regulations, even though a majority of people in his district support the new rules.The article also notes the PERI report cited above. Boston Globe, 2/12/11; MLive.com [Michigan], New York Times, 2/11/11 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/9/11. Forthcoming power plant regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are expected to create thousands of jobs installing pollution control equipment, according to the PERI report.

Businessweek.com; Bloomberg, 2/22/11. Michelle Budig (sociology) comments in a story about efforts to pass legislation that would grant federal workers four weeks of paid leave to care for newly born children. Researchers say the U.S. is one of just three nations out of 181 that don’t have such a benefit. Budig says a significant reason for earnings gaps between men and women is this lack of maternity leave.

Providence Journal, 2/20/11. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, participated in a panel at Brown University on the debate in Rhode Island about legalizing same-sex marriage. Badgett says her research shows that allowing same-sex marriage has no negative impact on the institution of marriage between men and women. Providence Journal, Rainbow Times, 2/9/11. A study co-authored by Badgett, who also is director of the Williams Institute at UCLA, finds that recognizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island would generate $1.2 million for the state over three years. The study only looked at state tax revenues and didn’t consider the broader impact on the economy.

Christian Science Monitor, 2/14/11. Nancy Folbre (economics) says a new survey by the Women’s Policy Institute offers the first empirical data on the effects of requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to employees in San Francisco. The research could have a decisive impact on efforts to promote similar policies elsewhere. The U.S. is one of the few rich countries with no paid sick leave requirement. New York Times (Economix blog), 2/14/11. Folbre writes in her weekly blog about how public support for students in community colleges and public colleges is dropping, creating a new generation of unemployed and underemployed young people. She says creating this group of people who can’t become productive citizens is a drag on efforts to boost the overall economy.  New York Times (Economix blog), 2/7/11. Folbre writes about the difficulty of determining the actual rate of poverty when using standard economic statistics. She says even during an economic downturn it is unclear how many people have slipped into poverty, or even how to measure what that means. New York Times (Economix blog), 1/31/11. Folbre writes about the debate among economists about the proper role of freedom in the field. She says some economists value freedom above all other values, while others recognize that some people will give up some freedom to care for families, children or the less fortunate members of society. New York Times (Economix blog), 1/24/11. Folbre notes that a law prohibiting polygamy in Canada is under review by the British Columbia Supreme Court for possible violation of religious rights guaranteed under the Canadian constitution. Pointing to the television series "Big Love" that has modernized the cultural image of polygamy (polygyny), she discusses the implications of polygynous marriage. The Economist, 1/20/11. A columnist writing about the power of labor unions and the jobless recovery cites a blog entry by Folbre in the New York Times. Folbre argues that jobs aren’t being created as the economy recovers because a “borderless” and globalized economic system is at work.

Chicago Tribune, 2/13/11. A social network analysis approach to gang crime reduction is paying off in Chicago neighborhoods, just as it has in smaller cities such as Boston and Cincinnati, notes Andrew Papachristos (sociology), who studied Chicago gangs for his graduate research. Like other epidemics, a crime epidemic follows certain rules as it spreads, he says.

Washington Post, 2/8/11. If the severe backlog in filling federal judicial vacancies eases, President Obama will have the chance to appoint dozens of judges who might gradually reverse what many consider a conservative drift in the lower federal courts. Sheldon Goldman (political science), an expert on judicial selection, points out that 75% of Obama’s appointments to the federal judiciary to date have been women or minorities, and that this impact will continue.

Springfield Republican, 2/10/11; Southbridge Evening News, 1/30/11. Mark Hamin (landscape architecture and regional planning) comments on a land use and zoning study completed by UMass Amherst students for the town of Brimfield. Town officials sought the study after residents raised concerns about issues such as a proposed casino in a nearby town and the possible installation of wind turbines on West Mountain. The study will be discussed at a community meeting on March 5.

Springfield Republican, 2/4/11. A story on how area residents are following events in Egypt includes comments by Jillian Schwedler (political science) about a forum hosted on campus on Feb. 3. She also signed a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to “move beyond rhetoric” and support the democratic forces in Egypt. Toronto Star, 2/1/11. Schwedler comments in a story about Jordan's King Abdullah II being among the least threatened leaders in the Middle East.

WGBY-57 TV "Connecting Point," 1/26/11. The show featured Steve Fox (journalism), Rosie Walunas '11 (journalism), and MassLive.com's Ed Kubosiak discussing Walunas's mini-documentary on Phoebe Prince, the South Hadley High School freshman who committed suicide last year after repeated bullying incidents. The suicide received national attention, led to indictments of several of Prince's peers, and has caused school districts across the country to develop anti-bullying policies. WHMP, "The 9 O'Clock Show," 1/26/11. Fox discusses the trial and acquital of former Pelham police chief Edward Fleury. Fleury was an organizer of a gun show during which an 8-year-old boy was killed when the semi-automatic he was learning to shoot kicked back. (Sorry, that particular podcast doesn't appear to be working. It has been reported to the station.)

The Real News Network, 1/21/11. Emeritus Prof. Rick Wolff (economics) blogs about budget cuts for public services in state government and $15 billion bonuses for Goldman Sachs execs.

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 (LARP), Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, 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, student 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.

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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
http://www.umass.edu/sbs/