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SBS Newsletter – March 2008

In this issue

Kent Elwell

Financial Sales Manager Joins Dean’s Board, Reflects on Career
When Dean Janet Rifkin of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences asked Kent Elwell ’83 (economics), vice president and regional sales manager for OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. headquartered in New York City, to serve on her advisory board, he was both “surprised and honored.” Elwell accepted and is looking forward to helping “with optimism and a heck of a lot of enthusiasm,” he says. Read more...

Aaron Manier

Scholarship Helps Student Find His Way
“The SBS Opportunity Scholarship really helped me out last semester,” says Aaron Manier ’08 (psychology). “Money was tight, as I wasn’t able to work as much as I might have due to extracurricular and personal activities. The scholarship ensured my financial survival.” Read more

National Cancer Institute Grants $2.29 Million to Study Depression Risk Predictors
Social psychologist Paula Pietromonaco, who has been a faculty member at UMass Amherst since 1986, studies how people think, feel, and behave in the context of their closest relationships. Her particular interest lies in how individual functioning in these relationships is connected to emotional and physical health. “Some of my past research,” Pietromonaco says, “has shown that how women think about their close relationships predicts their risk for depression.” Read more...

Michael Blakey

UMass Amherst Graduate School to Honor Anthro Alum at 100th Anniversary Gala
Marking its 100th anniversary, the UMass Amherst Graduate School will honor a graduate alumnus from each of UMass Amherst's schools and colleges at a gala on April 9. For the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Michael Blakey '85 PhD, '80 MA (anthropology), a National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary, has been selected. Earlier that day, from 10-11:30 in Campus Center 904-908, Blakey will present a lecture,"The Idea of Race and the Nature Politic," that is free and open to the public. Read more...

And other topics of interest...

CRF logoFamily Research Scholars Awarded $2.5 million from NIH and NSF
The National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health have awarded six faculty affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Research on Families (CRF) Scholars Program more than $2.5 million in research support. Psychology professors Paula Pietromonaco and Sally Powers received a five-year, $2.29 million grant for their study of “Biopsychosocial Factors in Depression and Marriage:  Implications for Cancer” from the National Cancer Institute in the National Institutes of Health. Read more...

James (Mike) RoyerPsychology Professor Named Distinguished Alum
James (Mike) Royer (psychology) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Education Alumni Association in April. Royer's research is directed at developing procedures for assessing and treating learning disabilities and developing an understanding of mathematical cognition. He is director of LATAS (Laboratory for the Assessment and Training of Academic Skills) that provides assessment and intervention services to children, youth and adults with learning disabilities and conducts research directed toward developing new procedures for assessing and treating learning disabilities. Royer also works internationally in projects designed to promote literacy in developing countries. See Royer's website for more information...

Dawson's Creek: A Critical Understanding coverDawson's Creek Revisited
Doctoral student Lori Bindig (communication) recently had her master’s thesis published by Lexington Books. Dawson’s Creek: A Critical Understanding offers a detailed analysis of the late 1990s TV show’s representation of gender, race, class, sexuality and consumerism and draws larger conclusions about the social implications of these messages. Read an interview with Bindig...

dinner selection at the dining commonsDining Services Wins Coveted Ivy Award
Dining Services has been named one of six winners of the 2008 Restaurants and Institutions magazine Ivy Awards, one of the oldest and most-coveted awards in the food service industry. Other award winners this year include top restaurants in Chicago, New York, California and Las Vegas as well as a hospital in Texas. "This is the award that every dining establishment would love to have,” says Ken Toong, director of Dining Services. “It’s especially meaningful because it means UMass Amherst has been recognized by its peers for being one of the best in the business.” Read more....

Painting from the Same Palette publicity Painting from the Same Palette
On Monday, April 28, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Campus Center Room 163C, a historic event will take place with the unveiling of a mural from Belfast, Northern Ireland/the north of Ireland. Recently completed, this mural was painted by two artists whose communities were previously at war: Danny Devenny, former Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner, and Mark Ervine, son of David Ervine, former Progressive Unionist Party leader and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member. Read more...

Upcoming Events
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Title: Making Connections: Life after UMass
4:30-6:30 p.m., Cape Cod Lounge
About 20 alumni from STPEC, Women’s Studies and the Labor Center will speak with current students about their career/job/grad school experiences and share information on internships and other career opportunities. A wide range of careers, from education and law to medicine and social services and more, will be represented. This is not a job fair, but a networking opportunity open to all UMass Amherst students.
Co-sponsored by STPEC, Women's Studies, the Labor Center, and Career Services.

Landscapes of Violence conferenceThursday–Friday, April 3–4, 2008
Title: Landscapes of Violence: Conflict and Trauma through Time
Begins at 10:00 a.m. Thursday and ends at 5:00 p.m. after a plenary session on Friday, UMass Amherst Campus Center, 9th floor and Student Union Ballroom
This conference will explore the current and future potential of academe to mitigate human rights issues, provide essential services to local, national and international governments, and broaden the dialogue between the academic disciplines. The objective is to engage in an interdisciplinary inquiry of the theoretical and empirical issues around the study of violence, warfare, conflict, and human rights. Free and open to the public, but registration is required. Click here for registration form and more information.
Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Psychology of Peace and Violence Concentration in Department of Psychology and coordinated by Ventura Perez (anthropology) and Linda Tropp (peace psychology).

Wednesday and Thursday, April 16 and 17, 2008
The Fifth Annual Social Theory Forum
Title: A Foucault for the 21st Century: Governmentality, Biopolitics and Discipline in the New Millenium
University of Massachusetts, Boston
This two-day conference promotes dialogue from across the disciplines on the relevance of one of the 20th Century's most provocative thinkers to the dilemmas we confront in the 21st. Barbara Cruikshank (political science) will present a keynote address entitled "Aporia: On the Political Effects of Foucault's Genealogies." Free and open to the public. For more information on the conference, click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008
Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture series
Developmental Psychologist Susan H. Landry, Michael Matthew Knight Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Title: Responsive Parenting: What Is It and When Is It Most Important?
4:00 p.m. Room 620, Thompson Hall
Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Families and the Center for Public Policy and Administration

Monday, April 28, 2008
Title: DIstinguished Faculty Lecture Series: Sara Lennox (STPEC) presents "Claiming Blackness in Germany"
4:00 p.m. Massachusetts Room, Mullins Center; reception follows
Faculty members in the series receive a Chancellor’s Medal following their lectures. The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed on individuals for exemplary and extraordinary service to the campus.
Sponsored by the offices of the chancellor and the provost

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Title: Founder's Day
10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Students, faculty, alumni and community members will gather with state and University dignitaries to mark 145 years since the founding of UMass Amherst with music and dance performances as well as lunchtime entertainment at tents outside the Fine Arts Center. Free and open to the public, but tickets are required. More information.

Thursday, May 8, 2008
Title: University of Massachusetts Night at the Pops 2008
Celebrating excellence in education: Featuring Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops with special guest Natalie Cole '72, '93H, and honoring Charles J. Hoff, UMass Lowell '66 who will receive the President's Medal, the University's highest honor.
7:45 - 10:20 p.m., Symphony Hall, Boston
Hosted by the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees and President Jack M. Wilson. For reservations, click here.

Monday, May 12, 2008
Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture series
Katherine S. Newman from Princeton University, where she is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs; director of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies; and Director of the Joint Doctoral Programs in Sociology, Politics, Psychology and Social Policy.
Title: “Failure to Launch? Delayed Departure from the Family Home in Western Europe and Japan"
2:00 p.m. Room 620, Thompson Hall
Co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Families and the Center for Public Policy and Administration

Ongoing this spring
The Science, Technology and Society Initiative has announced their spring lineup of speakers for their colloquium series. The series, focusing on issues ranging from environmental ethics to digital storytelling to equality in internet access, runs from March 31 – May 6. For more information, please see the STS Colloquium Series flyer [pdf].

Faculty Notes
Nancy Folbre (economics) spoke on gender inequality at an Economic and Social Research Council conference in England this month. Described on as "the distinguished feminist economist," Folbre discussed her work on paid or unpaid caring labor for children and the elderly, as well as nursing and teaching.

The Center for Research on Families (CRF) has selected its next group of Family Research Scholars.They will participate in a year-long interdisciplinary seminar and prepare external research grant proposals to fund their research project. They are Matt Davidson, assistant professor of psychology; Unja Hayes, assistant professor of psychology; Krista Harper, assistant professor of anthropology; Rebecca Ready, assistant professor of psychology; David Samuels, associate professor of anthropology; and Lynnette Leidy Sievert, professor of anthropology. For more information about the Family Research Scholars program, click here.

Nicholas Xenos (political science) has published Cloaked in Virtue: Unveiling Leo Strauss and the Rhetoric of American Foreign Policy (Routledge). It is now commonly acknowledged that numerous key players in and around the Bush administration's planning of the Iraqi invasion were connected through a common background in the political philosophy of this German-born University of Chicago professor, who died in 1973. This critical examination of Strauss's political theory lifts the veil of intentional obfuscation and its influence on their neoconservative foreign policy.

Alumni News
In January, Michael DiLorenzo '94 (journalism) was named director of corporate communications at the National Hockey League headquarters in NYC. DiLorenzo began his high tech PR career in 1996 at Schwartz Communications, the nation's largest independent high tech PR agency. Since then he was affiliated with some of Boston's top high-tech PR agencies. He later founded his own consulting business, Rising Tide Public Relations, and has also served as chief marketing officer for FASTHockey. DiLorenzo's new duties include media relations focusing on national, consumer, and technology media, promoting new media content on the website, new sponsorship deals, and the NHL’s overall “corporate success story.”

SBS in the News
Globe and Mail [Toronto, Ont.], 3/27/08. Associate Dean Robert Feldman (psychology), an expert on lying, comments in a story about why high-profile individuals tell lies. He says most people don’t believe they will be caught telling untruths even though today there are many ways for the media and other people to check the veracity of public statements. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/12/08. Feldman says the case of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned because of his involvement in a prostitution ring, is noteworthy because not only did he do something dumb, but also because his whole career was built on the notion that he was honest and opposed to corruption. The story was picked up by the Copley News Service and appeared in several other publications during the month. Fox 25 TV News, 3/5/08. Political Editor Joe Battenfeld interviewed Feldman on how often and why politicians lie, especially during campaigns. Sorry, the interview is no longer available for viewing.

NPR “All Things Considered,” 3/25/08. Ray La Raja (political science) comments in a story about how the two Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination are lobbying superdelegates hoping to break the electoral stalemate that has developed in the race between U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. La Raja says most of the superdelegates are interested in having influence in the next administration, not the impact of campaign money from the two contenders.

Austin American-Statesman [Texas], 3/25/08. Daniel Anderson (psychology) comments in a story about parents who let their small children watch DVDs in the family car and how those children are often more distracted than others., 3/22/08. Lisa S. Scott (psychology) has found that infants narrow and refine their ability to discriminate between what they see and hear during their first year in what appears to be a recalibration of developing brain functions. The process is called perceptual narrowing and likely signals that the infants are getting greater efficiency out of their perceptual abilities.

The Nation., 3/13/08 (March 31, 2008 issue). "The Wages of Peace," co-authored by Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of PERI, and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, an economics PhD candidate and a research assistant at PERI, argues that the war in Iraq and its rising costs have damaged the U.S. economy by preventing investment in health care, education and energy conservation and has prevented job creation. Overall, they argue that military spending has a much smaller economic benefit to the national economy than spending in other areas.

Boston Globe, 3/18/08. Ralph Whitehead Jr. (journalism) tells a political columnist why he makes a distinction between Democrats who get their coffee at Starbucks and those who patronize Dunkin Donuts. He says there is a long-standing demographic division between the two groups and that the Starbucks Democrats seem to favor Barak Obama while the Dunkin' Donuts Democrats support Hillary Clinton.

USA Today, 3/14/08. Sheldon Goldman (political science) says the one area where President George W. Bush has had success is in naming conservative judges to the federal judiciary. Kiplinger Business Resource Center, 3/10/08. Goldman says President George W. Bush’s two appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court have steered the court to the right and will likely produce opinions that favor policies that benefit business.

The Nation, 3/3/08. Elizabeth Krause (anthropology) comments in a story about how some Christian fundamentalists now argue that Europe will face a severe economic and cultural decline because the widespread use of contraceptives has cut birth rates among mostly white population groups and will be overcome by non-white and Muslim immigrants who have much larger families.

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:
Saige Reisler, Director of Development
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
235 Draper Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
40 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9244

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 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