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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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SBS graduates Alyssa Baglieri and Alex Tradd

SBS Newsletter – May 2009

In this issue

Janet RifkinBe Part of the Rifkin Legacy
At the end of June 2009, Janet Rifkin will be stepping down as Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Leading the College with distinction since 2002, she has been an effective leader, administrator, and colleague who has tirelessly advocated for her faculty, staff and students and developed a college identity among alumni. Rifkin continues to be intent on significantly increasing the SBS Dean's Opportunity Fund for Scholarships. To honor Dean Rifkin and her years of service, please make a gift that will benefit students in perpetuity. Read profile of Janet Rifkin.

Robert FeldmanFeldman Named Interim Dean
Robert Feldman (psychology), associate dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has accepted the position of Interim Dean of the College. Writes Dean Janet Rifkin, who will step down the end of June, "This is wonderful news for all of us. Bob has broad and intimate knowledge about all facets of SBS and I know that he will be a committed, strong and engaged leader of the College during what we can anticipate will be a critical period of transition." Read more...

Iza HussinAmbitious Questions Deserve Multidisciplinary Answers
Legal studies majors ask big questions: what is law, and how did it get that way? Is justice the same everywhere? Is the world system broken, and what tools would we use to first understand and then try to fix it? “Legal studies,” Assistant Professor Iza Hussin explains, “is a good place to begin. The department is a founder and national leader of law and society studies at the undergraduate level. Plus,” Hussin notes, “we offer a place where legal practitioners, researchers doing cutting-edge work, and graduate students all collaborate and contribute to undergraduate development.” Read more...

Scholarship studentsStudents Receive SBS Scholarships
Congratulations to this year's students who earned scholarships for internships, study abroad and meritorious academic achievement from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Each of these scholarships is funded through private gifts. If it were not for the support of our generous alumni and friends, SBS would be unable to acknowledge these remarkable students and contribute to their undergraduate educations. At the Awards Ceremony on May 16 at the Campus Center, several of these donors were in attendance. Read more...

And other topics of interest...

NSF logoNCDG and STS Initiative Awarded NSF Grant to Build National Beta Site
Jane Fountain, professor of political science and public policy and director of the National Center for Digital Government and the Science, Technology and Society (STS) Initiative, and Marilyn Billings, scholarly communication & special initiatives librarian at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, have been awarded a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Integrative Research to beta test cybertools and cyberinfrastructure for an interdisciplinary, multimedia, and international online beta repository to support ethics in science and engineering. The project is based at the Center for Public Policy. Read more...

Commencement 2009Commencement 2009
Approximately 4,250 candidates received bachelor’s degrees in nearly 100 majors during 139th undergraduate Commencement on May 23 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium. About 20,000 people attended the ceremony. Jackie Hai (journalism) was the student speaker. Also, three of the thirteen 21st Century Leaders were SBS majors: Amy Kent (anthropology); Lindsay E. McCluskey (anthropology); Elizabeth F. Paice (psychology/political science). Read more about Commencement. Click here to view slide show or to order DVD/video of the undergraduate commencement.

Jarice Hanson and Chris OvertreeSBS Presents Outstanding Teaching Awards
This year’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award has been presented to Jarice Hanson (communication) and Christopher Overtree (psychology). This award was instituted in 1995 to augment the University Distinguished Teaching Award by recognizing more talented teachers. Nominating procedures, however, are different. Candidates for the College Teaching Award are nominated by their peers and selected by the SBS Instructional Quality Council; for the University award, nominees come from current and former students and are selected by a committee of faculty and students. Read more...

Robert FaulknerFaulkner's New Book Explores Sociology of Jazz Repertoire
For anyone who’s ever wondered how jazz musicians who don’t know each other get together on stage and perform, sociologists Robert R. Faulkner and Howard S. Becker examine the intricacies of the process in their forthcoming book Do You Know? … The Jazz Repertoire in Action. The book, scheduled for release in September by the University of Chicago Press, is based on research supported by a $115,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Read more...

Jeffrey BlausteinBlaustein is President-elect of Neuroendocrinology Society
Jeffrey Blaustein '73, '75 MS, '77 PhD (psychology) of the Center for Neuroendocrine Studies, Neuroscience and Behavior Program and the Psychology Department on campus, has been elected president-elect of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (SBN). SBN is an international society that promotes intellectual exchanges between basic scientists studying interactions between behavior, genes, and neuroendocrine systems. Members study these interactions from the behavioral to the molecular level, in laboratory, field and clinical settings, using a variety of animal models. Read more...

town of Amherst logoAmherst Ranked Top College Town in North America
Great faculty, excellent graduate programs and NCAA sports at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are just some of the reasons why Amherst ranks as the top college town in North America, says college admissions counselor Katherine L. Cohen in a story featured on Cohen, the founder and CEO of two college counseling firms, IvyWise LLC and, ranks Amherst ahead of Berkeley, Calif., Montreal, Washington, D.C. and Boston. Read more...

Tim BaliseLacrosse Attackman Brings Intensity
It stands to reason that a psychology major with a 4.0 grade-point average knows something about the human mindset, and Tim Balise ’09 is no exception. For starters, he knows himself. "I'm really hard on myself," said Balise in an interview with the Springfield Republican a few days before his lacrosse team played at Princeton in the first round of the NCAA tournament. "I get down on myself, and I have to remember to relax," he said. "To a point." Read the interview. The team fell 10–7 in their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006. Read more about men's lacrosse.

Sports Shorts
The UMass Amherst softball team was ousted from the NCAA tournament with a 6-1 loss to Washington in a late-night, 15-inning game that ended early on May 18. The baseball team lost 6-3 to Xavier on May 23 and was eliminated from the Atlantic 10 tournament. The team finished with a 27-26 record, the first winning season since 2003. Men's soccer and the defending National Champion Maryland Terrapins battled to a 0-0 draw in the Supercuts 2009 Soccerfest on May 1. The Terps outshot UMass 19–6 for the game, but the Minutemen made their chances count on a point blank header save and a shot that clanged off the left post—both by Mark DeSantis '10 (communication). Jim Rudy, who has coached the UMass women’s soccer team for 21 years, has announced his retirement. In a total of 28 years coaching, he has a lifetime record of 313-160-28. Rudy took his team to the NCAA tournament 13 times, including nine times at UMass Amherst. He also took two teams to the Final Four. For more on UMass Amherst athletics, click here.

Faculty/Department Notes
Hadley, Massachusetts has a history as rich as its soil. A new book of 15 scholarly essays, edited by Associate Professor of History Marla Miller, commemorates Hadley's 350th anniversary. Many of the contributors to Cultivating a Past (UMass Press, 2009) have UMass Amherst ties, including Elizabeth Chilton MA '91, PhD '96 (anthropology), chair of the Department of Anthropology, Siobhan Hart '04 MA, '09 PhD (anthropology), and adjunct faculty Christopher Donta (anthropology). They wrote about archaeology and Native American history.

Based in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for Public Policy and Administration, the Science, Technology & Society Initiative is a catalyst for inter-disciplinary, collaborative research among the natural, physical and social sciences, engineering and public policy and a locus of engagement with governments, NGOs, business and civil society. Much of STS's work is international in scope reflecting the global nature of science and technology. The Initiative builds on and amplifies faculty research interests. Read about recent research, teaching and engagement activities in the most recent STS newsletter.

Alumni News
Mike Parry '74 (communication) was featured in the spring 2009 issue of UMass Amherst Magazine in "Wax 2 Wool." The story discusses Parry's move from CEO and president of Yankee Candle Company in 2001 to working for his wife, a fiber artist, author and owner of Foxfire Fiber & Designs in Shelburne, Mass. Foxfire retails high-quality yarn produced from Border Leicester and Cormo sheep.

Alex Sajkovic '80 (STPEC), owner of ASN Stone that supplies eco-friendly building materials for homes, museums, hotels, and malls, also appeared in the spring 2009 issue of UMass Amherst Magazine in "Sustainable Style."

"Finishing Touches" in UMass Amherst Magazine features Rebecca Ridley '93 (economics), owner of the Davis Funeral Home in Roxbury Mass. It discusses how she got started in the business right after graduation. Although she carries on the traditions started by her mentor, from whom she bought the business in 2001, Ridley is constantly attuned to trends and changes in her industry.

Glenn Ruga '81 (STPEC), a graphic designer in Concord, Mass., runs, a website devoted to showcasing documentary photography exhibits from around the world. SDN uses the power of photography to create global awareness.

David Barbato '94 (economics), who cofounded the recruiting company Talent Retriever, LLC in Burlington, Mass., with his wife Cheryl '92, made the Boston Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list of business leaders for 2008. Talent Retriever has twice landed on the Journal's Best Places to Work list.

Anne Buchanan '77 (anthropology) is coauthor of The Mermaid's Tale: Four Billion Years of Cooperation in the Making of Living Things (Harvard University Press 2009) with her husband Kenneth M. Weiss. She is a senior research scientist in anthropology at Penn State.

John Gartner '82 MS, '85 PhD (psychology), a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, is author of In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography (St. Martin's Press, 2008). The American Library Association's Booklist named it one of the best adult books (biography) of 2008.

John Chapin '87 (political science), a consultant, speaker and sales trainer, co-wrote Sales Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive How To Guide on Selling (Eagle View Publishing, 2009).

Robert Lacey '06 PhD (poitical science), who teaches at Iona College, wrote American Pragmatism and Democratic Faith (Northern Illinois University Press, 2008) that traces the history and legacy of participatory democracy.

Karen Kullgren '79 (political science) is contributing editor of Washington Woman and Washington Parent magazines in the DC metro area. She has a monthly essay column in Washington Woman called "Grace in the Gray Areas." She is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared extensively in publications from The Washington Post to Organic Style. Karen has taught writing to adults and children in the U.S. and abroad, including journaling and poetry. She transitioned to this after getting her MA in East Asian studies and then having a career in Asian studies which included being vice president of the US-China Business Council and deputy director general of the US Committee of the Pacific Basin Economic Council. "I'm a big believer in career transformations!"

Please send us your news!

SBS in the News
Newsweek, 6/1/09. Daniel Anderson (psychology) says a 2001 study on the children’s television show “Sesame Street” that showed it had positive effects on reading and achievement through high school dramatically changed parental thinking about television. The show is one of the first to include educational material rather than just entertainment.

Boston Globe, 6/1/09. Madeleine Blais (journalism) writes a column advising the Obamas on things to know about Martha’s Vineyard, where the first family is reportedly going to spend its vacation this summer. Boston Globe, 5/25/09. Blais writes a column about the advice she is giving her graduating students this year as they head into a difficult job market and a changing news media landscape.

Boston Globe Magazine, 5/31/09. Zac Bissonnette '11 (legal studies) writes a column about why he’ll be able to graduate without any student debt. A key element is the lower cost of attending UMass Amherst, he says. Read more about Bissonnette.

Springfield Republican, 5/31/09; News & Observer [N.C.], 5/30/09. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration and research director for the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, comments in a story about the fifth year anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. A study co-authored by Badgett says the state has seen a $111 million increase in economic activity in the past five years related to the new marriage law. An editorial also cites Badgett’s study. NPR’s On Point, 5/27/09; Detroit News, 5/27/09; Christian Science Monitor, 5/26/09. Badgett is interviewed about the state of gay marriage in Massachusetts and its economic impact. [from AP], Boston Herald, 5/17/09. A study co-authored by Badgett says the more than 12,000 same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts during the past five years have added more than $111 million to the state’s economy. A second study finds that young, highly educated people in same-sex relationships were 2.5 times more likely to move to the state because it has legalized same-sex marriage.

Newsday, 5/28/09. Sheldon Goldman (political science) says U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito, a current member of the court, share a number of similarities. Both are Roman Catholic, from the New York metropolitan area and have remained close to their ethnic roots, Goldman says. But in the end, he says, Alito is more consistently conservative than Sotomayor is solidly liberal. Washington Independent, 5/27/09. Goldman says Republican members of the U.S. Senate face a difficult choice in how they respond to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. He says if the GOP senators attack Sotomayor, whom he describes as a qualified Hispanic female nominee, and there is no disqualifying information revealed about her in the confirmation hearings, they could further damage their party with women and Hispanic voters. Detroit News, 5/17/09. Goldman (political science) comments about the chances Gov. Jennifer Granholm has of being nominated to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. She is one of three women believed to the President Barack Obama’s short list of candidates. Goldman says he thinks a well-qualified Hispanic woman would have the best chance at the nomination. New York Times, 5/10/09. Goldman comments in a story about how political and judicial observers are looking through President Barack Obama’s voting record in the Senate on judges for clues to what kind of person he will nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court. Associated Press, Otago Daily Times [New Zealand], 5/5/09. Goldman says elevating Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be the point man for the GOP in the Senate confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed David Souter on the Supreme Court may not play well symbolically. Goldman, an expert on federal judicial nominees, says Sessions is a very conservative Southern senator who represents the far right wing of the party. Naming a more moderate Republican to be the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will handle the nomination, might be a better idea, Goldman says, if the Republicans are serious about remaking their image with the electorate.

U.S. News & World Report, 5/18/09. Robert Feldman (psychology), dean of SBS and author of The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships to be released this summer, comments in a story about why people lie. “We use lies to grease the wheels of social discourse. It’s socially useful to tell lies,” Feldman says. He adds, however, that a balance is required, because people who constantly lie quickly earn a reputation for being untrustworthy and will get tuned out.

Boston Globe, 5/17/09. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is featuring a film “Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood,” by Sut Jhally (communication), director of the Media Education Project in Northampton.

Asia Times, 5/14/09. Max Fraad Wolf, a UMass doctoral student, writes an economic column about how the Chinese economy is functioning in response to the global economic slowdown.

Springfield Republican, 5/12/09. Two artists from Northern Ireland are expected to visit UMass Amherst to paint a mural with the theme of truth and reconciliation next fall after plans to bring them to the campus this spring failed when one artist was denied a visa to enter the U.S. Staff members for U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal of Springfield are working to get the visa problems resolved. For more about the mural project, which is sponsored by SBS, Legal Studies, and the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and the Psychology of Peace and Violence Concentration, among others, click here.

Toronto Star, 5/9/09. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, says most of the jobs created in the green-energy sector will be relatively well paying positions. The story looks at how alternative energy will be a boost for the economy in Ontario.

New York Times, 5/7/09. Nancy Folbre (economics) discusses the $122,611 cost of doing mother's work, as estimated by based on its 9th annual survey. Although mothers’ unpaid work has been ignored, underestimated and devalued for so long, she argues that the salary figure is too high and points out that an overestimate of the replacement costs of a mother’s services does mothers a disservice.

Inside Higher Ed, 5/4/09. Prof. Emeritus Guenter Lewy (political science) is seeking millions in damages from the Southern Poverty Law Center for intense criticism the group leveled at him for his 2005 book, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, that says the slaughter of Armenians during World War I was not genocide. Lewy says the facts surrounding those events are open to debate. The government of Turkey, which denies participating in genocide against the Armenians, has supported Lewy.

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, 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 centers 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. 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? Call the Office of Development, 413.545.2741.

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