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SBS Newsletter – July/August 2007

In this issue

Christine Solt

Solt Selected for Boston Business Journal’s 2007 “40 Under 40” Award
Christine G. Solt '92 (political science), chair of Choate, Hall & Stewart’s Health Care Practice Group, was chosen as one of 40 emerging business leaders for the Boston Business Journal’s (BBJ) 2007 “40 Under 40” award. The tenth annual award recognizes outstanding professionals under the age of 40 for their business success and community contributions in the greater Boston area. This year’s winners will be honored at a special reception at the Copley Marriott Hotel on October 11. Read more...

Bruce Geisler

“Free Spirits” Film Wins Awards, Available on DVD
Are you ready for a trip back in time? Lecturer Bruce Geisler (communication) has written, directed, and coproduced a feature-length documentary “Free Spirits: The Birth, Life and Loss of a New-Age Dream” that is meeting rave reviews. Even better, the film won an award for Best Original Score at the Oxford International Film Festival and screened to a packed house at the Mendocino Film Festival in mid-May. Read more...

Tarra Louis-Charles

Student Seeks Path to Stability and Influence
"When I meet international students, I envy their intellectuality and awareness of what is going on in the world,” says Tarra Louis-Charles ’08 (legal studies). “I think study abroad will expand my worldview and give me a deeper appreciation for where I come from—and who I am—as well as how it feels to be disconnected from my own language and culture. Study abroad prepares tomorrow’s leaders to think and act with a global consciousness. Read more...

Dan Torres

A Passion for Politics
The Ansin Study Abroad Fellowship this year is helping 21 outstanding students in Social and Behavioral Sciences experience a semester or more in a foreign culture. Among them is Daniel Torres ’07 (political science and economics), who is spending the summer at the Denmark International Study Program in Copenhagen. Read more...

And other topics of interest...

John LombardiLombardi Headed for Louisiana
Chancellor John V. Lombardi has been named president of the Louisiana State University system, unanimously approved by the board of supervisors in July. With an annual budget of about $3 billion, the system includes 11 institutions, headed by the flagship university in Baton Rouge, four other academic campuses, including the University of New Orleans, two medical schools, a law school, agriculture center and 10 public hospitals in the Charity system. Lombardi, who has been chancellor of UMass Amherst for five years, called the LSU presidency “one of the great opportunities in American higher education.” The president also is the primary liaison between the system and state officials, including the governor and the Legislature. Read more...

Thomas W. Cole, Jr.Cole Named Interim Chancellor
Thomas W. Cole, Jr., former president of Clark Atlanta University, was named on August 15 as interim chancellor of the Amherst campus. The Board of Trustees, meeting in Boston, ratified President Jack Wilson’s recommendation. Cole will begin his term on September 1 and is expected to serve about a year. Read more...

Chancellor Search Committee Appointed
President Jack M. Wilson and the Board of Trustees have established a 24-person search committee to conduct a national search for a new chancellor for the Amherst campus. The committee is chaired by Trustee Jennifer Braceras '89 (communication) and includes faculty members, trustees, alumni, and business and community leaders. Read more...

Lee BadgettBadgett to Lead CPPA
Dean Janet Rifkin has appointed Associate Professor M.V. Lee Badgett (economics and public policy) as director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration. Badgett is also the research director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA. Her research focuses on family policy issues and on labor market discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, and gender. Read more...

Emily West

Communication Professor Participates in Prestigious Advertising Program
Assistant Professor Emily West (communication) spent two weeks participating in the Advertising Educational Foundation's Visiting Professor Program in Chicago this summer. This competitive program places 15 to 18 professors each summer in advertising agencies where they learn firsthand about the industry.

Lisa SandersSanders Wins Grant to Study Auditory Processing
Lisa Sanders, assistant professor of psychology, has won a three-year, $224,746 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how people process rapidly changing auditory information. “Speech comprises an overwhelming amount of pitch and loudness information that changes rapidly over time,” says Sanders. Her research aims to determine whether people select only the most important information for detailed processing or struggle to deal with all the information equally. Read more...

Leda CooksBuilding Understanding through Communication
“My mission is to teach students to think about thinking,” says Leda Cooks, professor of communication and graduate program director. “I am particularly interested in associations between concepts embedded in everyday vocabularies about identity, relationships and culture and the epistemologies advocated by texts and research in interpersonal and intercultural communication. So, I present students with representative scholarship while teaching them the skills by which to think critically about the material.” Read more....

Nanotech workshop presentation to audienceCenter for Research on Families to Host Workshop on Crafting Effective Media Messages
On Wednesday, October 3, 2007, the Center for Research on Families (CRF) presents Taking Research on Families Outside of the Academy: How to Craft Effective Media Messages. This is the first in a series of panels that CRF is organizing to bring together researchers with interest in taking their research outside of the academy and speaking about it to the media. The event takes place from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., in 803 Campus Center at UMass Amherst. It is free and open to all. Read more...

Nanotech workshop presentation to audienceNanotechnology and Society Workshop Presentations Available Online
Video presentations from the Science, Technology and Society Initiative’s highly successful workshop, Nanotechnology and Society: The Organization and Policy of Innovation, are now available on the STS Spring 2007 Workshop website. The workshop brought together more than 80 national and international faculty, public officials, scientists and students to discuss a range of important issues related to the societal implications of emerging nanoscale technologies. Read more...

dining services in actionDining Services Wins Grand Prize in National Competition
For the second time in two years, Dining Services has won the grand prize in the residence hall dining–multiple concepts category of the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards presented by the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS).The award was announced during the NACUFS annual conference held July 11-14 in Seattle. According to NACUFS, 700 member schools vie in seven categories in the competition. Read more...

Faculty Notes
In August Karen List (journalism) was honored at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Washington, D.C. List was recognized by Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism and mass communication honor society, for her outstanding service to the organization, both for her four years as national president and vice president and for her 17 years "as chapter advisor, mentor and scholarly role model." She founded the UMass Amherst KTA chapter in 1989 and won the national KTA Advisor of the Year Award in 2003.

Associate Professor Charles M. Schweik (natural resources conservation and public policy), associate director of the National Center for Digital Government, has been awarded a grant from the USDA Forest Service to develop an online carbon calculator. NCDG is based administratively in the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), part of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Read more... (pdf)

Lots of news from Anthropology. Julie Hemment has received tenure. Michael Sugerman is on leave from teaching this fall as he prepares his tenure case for next year. Martin Wobst has been selected as one of four University Distinguished Lecturers for 2007-8. More on this in an upcoming newsletter. Dickie Wallace, a recent PhD alumnus, will be teaching Anthropology 105, Language Culture and Communication, this fall while David Samuels is on a yearlong fellowship at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. Lecturer Stephen King has received an NSF postdoc at Stony Brook for three years, under a grant entitled "Losing the Edge: Senescence schedules and longevity in Malagasy rain forest primates." Principal Investigator is Patricia C. Wright, Stony Brook University. Co-PIs are Laurie Godfrey and Jukka Jernvall, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Finland. King will divide his time among UMass Amherst, Stony Brook, and Helsinki. The grant also includes some funding for PhD candidate Marina Blanco's dissertation fieldwork in Madagascar.

Marty Norden (communication) recently gave several presentations in Prague. While there he visited the Filmová a Televizní Fakulta Akademie Múzických Umëní (Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts) and lectured on the Czech filmmaker Ivan Passer and his 1981 American film “Cutter’s Way.” He then traveled to Masarykova univerzita in Brno, where he attended a conference on contemporary Central and Eastern Europe and gave a paper on the work of the Munich-based organization Arbeitsgemeinschaft Behinderung und Medien (Disability and Media Association).

Michelle Budig (sociology) has been awarded a research fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to spend 10 months conducting research at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany. This is a tremendous honor, both in terms of the granting foundation and the invitation to spend it at Max Planck. More information will be forthcoming in the next newsletter.

In a wonderful testimony to the collaborative nature of the sociology department here at UMass Amherst, Dan Clawson, Robert Zussman, Joya Misra, Naomi Gerstel, Randall Stokes, and Doug Anderton have coedited the new book, Public Sociology: Fifteen Eminent Sociologists Debate Politics and the Profession in the Twenty-first Century. In 2004, Michael Burawoy, speaking as president of the American Sociological Association, generated far-reaching controversy when he issued an ambitious and impassioned call for a "public sociology." Burawoy argued that sociology should speak beyond the university, engaging with social movements and deepening an understanding of the historical and social context in which they exist. In this volume, renowned sociologists come together to debate the perils and the potentials of Burawoy's challenge.

Congratulations to Paula Chakravartty (communication and public policy) who recently received tenure. She is coeditor of Political Economy of Global Communication: Towards a Transcultural Perspective (Rowan & Littlefield, 2007). This book takes a new approach toward understanding the uneven flows of global communications by examining political economic power and communication in relation to historically specific encounters with modernity. The chapters spotlight China, Ghana, India, Japan, Palestine, Russia, Singapore, and Venezuela, and foreground the transnational formations of the European Union, the pan-Arab and Spanish-speaking markets, and civil society actors in sub-Saharan African, the Middle East, and North America.

Alumni News
Former Minuteman All-American lacrosse player Sean Morris '06 (economics), now playing in the National Lacrosse League, was traded in July by the Colorado Mammoths to the new Boston team. Read more...

Former UMass Amherst baseball standout Paul Wennik '62 (government), of Salem, Mass., will be inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame this fall. As an undergraduate he was named first team All-Yankee Conference and first team All-New England, after going 5-1 on the mound with a 1.24 ERA, which is the sixth lowest single season ERA with a minimum of 40 innings pitched in school history. This helped UMass finish second nationally in team ERA. Wennik also helped the team at the plate, hitting .333 in 1960 and .400 in 1961. He then signed with the Washington Senators organization, playing in the Appalachian League in Middlesboro, Kentucky. After his baseball career, Wennik joined the recording industry as a marketing executive, helping to shape the careers of Bon Jovi and John Mellencamp, among others. Semi-retired now, he still serves as a consultant. Writer Bob Albright chronicled his UMass Amherst career and and professional life in the Eagle Tribune. Read more about Wennik and his career...

Catherine Pulley '95 (journalism) of Brookline, Mass., is writing a book about dyed-in-the-wool female Boston Red Sox fans. She invites submissions of their yarns for consideration. Pulley says, “I’d love to find the woman who was at Ted Williams' last game. I’d love to find the woman who named her kid after Johnny Damon, and then he goes to the Yankees. I mean, what do you do, right? I want to find that woman who was giving birth during Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series." Read more...

Dave Strader '77 (communication) has signed a multi-year contract to join the Phoenix Coyotes broadcast team as the hockey club’s new TV play-by-play announcer. Strader has broadcast games for ESPN, NBC and the Detroit Red Wings. Read more...

Do you have news you'd like to share? Send it to

SBS in the News
UMass Magazine, Summer 2007. The current issue offers a special report on "Our Families, Our Selves" in which alumni, faculty and programs related to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences are prominently featured. You can read it online.

Ann Arbor News, 8/05/07; Springfield Republican, 7/31/07. Donal Carbaugh and Emily E. West (communication) comment in a story about a new line of greeting cards that features famous lines of dialogue from movies, including classics, popular television shows and from various celebrities. Read more...

Canadian Broadcast Company, 7/30/07. Tom Juravich (labor studies) was denied a work visa to accept a visiting professorship at Carleton University in Canada, apparently because he was arrested in 1981 during a protest at a picket line. Juravich was never convicted of a crime. Read more... The Daily Hampshire Gazette on 8/6/07 followed up this story with a happy ending: Having produced the documents clearing his name, Juravich is now in Canada. In addition to Juravich's ability to dig up old court records, he attributes his return to Canada to press coverage surrounding his ban and well-placed letters of support. "I don't know how I can ever thank everyone who wrote letters, sent emails, faxes and made phone calls on my behalf," Juravich said.

Business 2.0, August 2007. In the law section of the "Top Ten Products, Ideas and Trends," Ethan Katsh (legal studies) comments about the growing popularity of online legal contracts. Read more...

Sun Chronicle, 7/17/07. In an article about playing hooky from work, Eve Weinbaum (labor studies) says absenteeism at work is much less of a problem than the small number of vacation days offered to most employees in the U.S. Read the article...

San Diego Online, 7/9/07. A news story notes a 2002 study done by Anthony Harris (sociology), published in the journal Homicide Studies. In it Harris estimates that without advances in trauma care, there would have been 45,000 to 70,000 homicides nationwide in each of the past five years instead of 15,000 to 20,000. Read the article...

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:
James Mallet, 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