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SBS Newsletter – November, 2009

In this issue

David FalveyAccidental Author, Serves Army and Air Force, Offers Advice
From October ’07 to June ’08, Capt. David Falvey ’04 (political science) of Billerica, MA, served a tour of duty in Iraq. During that period, he received a package of letters and drawings from a 4th-grade class in Long Island to which he responded. Later, with the encouragement of a family friend, he turned the letters into a children’s book, Letters to a Soldier, which is getting some great reviews. Read more...

Mark A. LangeNew Dean Focuses on Undergraduate Experience
This past summer Associate Dean Mark A. Lange joined the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to direct its new Advising Center in 128 Thompson Hall. His enthusiasm for the job is palpable, and from day one he has worked tirelessly to make the SBS undergraduate experience at UMass Amherst the best that it can be. Read more...

Evan BrassardPolSci Student Wins Human Rights Award
This past summer Evan Brassard ’10 (political science) participated in an internship at Rehabilitative Resources Inc. (RRI), a nonprofit agency in Sturbridge, Mass. RRI specializes in providing services and support to the developmentally disabled. Brassard’s work focused on the agency’s human rights training manuals, the implementation of a teaching aid to help site supervisors relay human rights lessons to individuals served by the programs, and writing a guide to aid in understanding of the state regulations. To say he did a good job would be an understatement. His work earned him the agency’s Human Rights Award, presented in October at their annual recognition event. Read more...

Michelle Budig and Joya MisraSociologists Honored for Excellence in Work-Family Research
Congratulations go to Professors Michelle Budig and Joya Misra (sociology) who were named finalists for this year's Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research. Their article, coauthored with Stephanie Moller (UNC Charlotte), was “Work-Family Policies and Poverty for Partnered and Single Women in Europe and North America,” published in Gender & Society [21(6):804-27]. Read more...

And other topics of interest...

Ventura PerezAnthropologist Plays Key Role in Return of Native American Remains for Burial
On November 16 Northern Mexico's Yaqui Indians buried their lost warriors after a two-year effort to rescue the remains from New York's American Museum of Natural History, where the victims of one of North America's last Indian massacres lay in storage for more than a century. These victims of one of North America’s last Indian massacres in 1902 lay in storage for more than a century. The bones were forgotten until Professor Ventura Perez MA '00, PhD '06 (anthropology) and a fellow anthropologist started to study them in 2007 and realized their gruesome history. Read more in the New York Times. The AP story appeared in major media outlets across the nation.

Ralph WhiteheadProfessor Whitehead Goes to Washington
Professor Ralph Whitehead (journalism) was part of a panel (along with Vice President Joe Biden) at the Center for American Progress earlier this month. The topic: The Challenges Facing the Middle Class in the 21st Century Economy. The vice president, who chairs the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families, invited Whitehead and five other scholars from around the country to take part in the discussion. Watch video of the discussion.

Billy Kenoi Big Man on the Big Island
Like Barack Obama, Billy Kenoi ’93 (political science) is a native Hawaiian who ran against an older, more experienced candidate for office. And, like Obama, Kenoi triumphed. “Seeing the newspaper with the headlines ‘Obama Wins; Kenoi Wins’,” he says, “gave me goose bumps.” Kenoi, elected at 39, is the youngest-ever mayor of the ‘Big Island’ of Hawaii, a county with 150,000 inhabitants spread over 4,000 square miles. Read more...

Reza RahmaniMoti of Amherst
Reza Rahmani '04 (economics) didn't want to take any chances when he opened Moti, a Persian-Mediterranean restaurant at 25 North Pleasant St. in Amherst. He knew the location had a reputation for being "cursed." Rolando's (2007-09) was the most recent tenant to have tried to make it there, preceded by Fatzo's Hamburgers (2004-06) and Bananarama (1997-03). The McDonald's Express (1994-96) didn't survive long. Nor did Uptown Pizzeria (1993-94) before that. Still, "I always kind of thought this area was missing this kind of flavor," Rahmani said of the cuisine his family has been serving at Moby Dick of Boston, in the Symphony Hall area, for about 20 years. Read more...

Kembrew McLeodAlum's Music Industry Documentary Released
Independent documentary filmmaker and music fanatic Kembrew McLeod '00 PhD (communication) has long been fascinated by the intersection of art and commerce. His latest film, Copyright Criminals: an Exploration of the Creative and Legal Ramifications of Music Sampling in Hip-Hop, focuses on artistic expression, hip-hop's history of reusing sounds, the uneasy relationship between sampling and copyright law, and how the explosion of technology and home production has further muddied the waters for musicians, producers and artists across the spectrum. Read an interview with McLeod. Copyright Criminals was screened in mid-November at the Media Education Foundation in Northampton.

Springfield, MACampus Considers Design Center in Springfield
As part of the Greater Springfield-University of Massachusetts Amherst Partnership established last year, campus officials intend to establish a “Downtown Design Center” in Springfield to assist the city with economic development projects, according to Chancellor Robert C. Holub. In a letter to Mayor Domenic Sarno dated Oct. 27, Holub said the center could open by the beginning of spring semester if “all operational arrangements can be met.” Faculty and graduate students from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (and others) would be involved. Read more...

Southern New England School of LawTrustee Panel Approves Law School Plan
A proposal to create a public law school at the Dartmouth campus was approved Nov. 18 by the Board of Trustees Committee on Academic and Student Affairs. On an 11-5 vote, the panel endorsed a plan for the Dartmouth campus to accept the proposed donation of the nearby Southern New England School of Law and create a fully accredited law program without drawing on state or University funds. The 235-student law school is not accredited by the American Bar Association. Read more...

QDAP logoPublic Comment “Toolkit” for Regulatory Agencies Launched
Researchers in the Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP) on campus and at the University of Pittsburgh have launched a free, Web-based beta version of the Public Comment Analysis Toolkit (PCAT) to enable government officials to listen to and engage with the American public about regulations that impact their lives and businesses. The software builds on the concept of transparent and participatory “open” government advocated by the White House. Read more...

Alice RossiAlice Rossi Dies
Prominent feminist and scholar, Alice S. Rossi, the Harriet Martineau Professor of Sociology emerita, died peacefully on November 3. Born in New York City, she graduated from Brooklyn College and obtained a Ph.D in sociology from Columbia University. Prior to her appointment at UMass Amherst, Rossi held faculty positions at Harvard University, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and Goucher College. She was one of the 16 founders of the National Organization of Women (NOW). Read more....

Recreation CenterNew Recreation Center Open for Business
The new, $50-million Recreation Center opened October 30, ushering in a new era of campus health and fitness opportunities. John McCutcheon, athletic director, made the announcement Oct. 30 in a broadcast e-mail to undergraduates. “The Recreation Center will serve as a major new focus of campus life and student activity, where you can benefit from the latest in exercise and training equipment,” he said. “We urge you to take advantage of the many opportunities that it offers.” Read more and view slide show of the facility.

Upcoming Events
Check out 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.

Economics Graduate Alumni Event
The Department of Economics invites graduate alumni attending the 2010 annual AEA meeting, scheduled for January 3-5, 2010 in Atlanta, GA, to join us at a cocktail reception on January 4 from 6-8 p.m. in room L503 at the Marriott Marquis. To RSVP (not required, but we would love to hear from you!), please email Nicole Dunham.

Alumni News
Peter Trovato '05 (journalism, political science), who created the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund for the children of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, has promised college grants to each of the 62 Massachusetts children who have lost parents in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read story in the Boston Globe.

Beth Feldman ’90 (communication) is the creator and president of, an online community to inspire, entertain and inform today’s busy moms. Through blogs, book and product reviews, news posts and events, the company helps moms stay connected and in touch with their personal and professional aspirations. After an eleven-year career in pubic relations with CBS Communications Group, Feldman found a new niche in the parenting market. Realizing that the blogging community was gaining size and following, she applied her past experience not only to promote parenting content and products on her site, but also to provide exposure to talented bloggers. Read interview with the Alumni Association.

Christian E. Weller PhD '98 (economics) is associate professor of public policy at UMass Boston. This past summer, he was awarded tenure. Read more...

Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Assocation, on their Events Listing. Also, 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.

Faculty/Department News
The News Herald, 11/28/09; The Register Citizen [Litchfield, Conn.], 11/29/09. An editorial by Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, argues that a decision by President Obama to end the war in Iraq and transfer the $150 billion we now spend there to clean energy and education would result in a net increase of 1.8 million jobs throughout the nation. This would not solve the unemployment crisis, but would do much to bring decent jobs, a clean-energy economy, a good education and a more peaceful world.

Mari Castañeda (communication) was honored on Nov. 19 with the UMass President’s Public Service Award. Castañeda, who received her Ph.D in communication at the University of California, San Diego, in 2000, has worked extensively to create university and community partnerships that benefit the Latino/a population of Holyoke, Mass. Her work with the Community Outreach Partnership Center and as a faculty advisor for Student Bridges allowed Castañeda to advocate for improvement in education, economic development and housing in the Latino/a community in Holyoke, Mass. Read more...

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (sociology) received a National Science Foundation grant for his project, Finance Sector Income Distribution Dynamics: An Application and Test of Rent Theory. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics) received a grant for a feasibility study for a Community-University Research and Outreach Center from the Albatross Fund.

Jane Fountain (political science and public policy), director of the National Center for Digital Government, has been appointed for a second year to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government. Read more...

The National Center for Digital Government (NCDG) co-sponsored the second Korea-U.S. Information and Communication Technology-Based Policy Forum at the World Bank on November 5, 2009. Leveraging discussions from the first Korea-U.S. Forum held in Seoul, Korea in 2008, this year’s forum provided a unique opportunity for dialog between Korean and U.S. experts on national information technology enablement, green IT, knowledge infrastructure, and job creation in knowledge-based economies. The Forum also acted as the kick-off meeting for a US-Korean committee for cooperation on IT policies. Read more... [pdf]

The book, Making Transnational Feminism: Rural Women, NGO Activists, and Northern Donors in Brazil, by Millie Thayer (sociology) was released in October by Routledge Press.

This tweet about Robert Faulkner (sociology) recently appeared on the UMass Amherst Twitter site: "@Pradia2040 Prof. Faulkner is probably the best professor @UMassAmherst, his lectures are dramatic, filled with gravitas. Funny too! Soc 342 take it."

Jan Servaes (communication), director of the SBS Center, Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC), recently keynoted two international conferences and was appointed an honorary guest professor at the Huazhong University of Technology and Science in China. Read more...

The US Embassy in Tunis facilitated a telelecture and Q/A session that David Mednicoff (public policy) conducted in late October from Dubois on "globalization and law" to 40 Tunisian graduate law students in a program on Common Law. Says Mednicoff, "They seemed to like the session, and it looks as if I'll be doing a second teleconference in December on the US Supreme Court, as well as hearing their insights on Obama's policy in the Middle East. My STPEC Senior seminar this semester also is including two networked sessions on human rights across cultures with a class from the American University of Cairo."

SBS in the News
El Paso Times, Las Cruces Sun News 11/24/09. Ventura Perez (anthropology) is among several experts who weighed in on what is causing the Juarez drug murders and what might be done to end them.

Middle East North Africa Financial Network, 11/24/09. Nancy Folbre (economics) says professional and managerial workers may end up hurting their career trajectories if they take time out of the labor market to care for young children. She says the reality is that parents who take off more than a short time are penalized for it. New York Times, 11/2/09. A column by Folbre discusses why Wall Street firms continue giving hefty bonuses to managers and traders, so-called “rainmakers,” even when the companies aren’t making a profit. She cites a recent study by James Crotty (economics) that says top management at such firms aren’t paid according to market forces, but enjoy the benefit of a system where they have significant influence on boards of directors, who determine pay rates.

USA Today, 11/16/09. C.N. Le (sociology) says working class Asians, especially immigrants, will accept most any job just to make money, in part because they don’t associate their work with their identity and self-esteem. The story notes that this and other factors have helped keep unemployment among Asians lower than for other ethnic groups.

Boston Globe, 11/15/09. Lisa Saunders (economics) says she is currently undecided on which candidate she will support in the upcoming Dec. 8 primary election for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. The story focuses on Shutesbury, a small local town that traditionally has high voter participation.

MarketingWeek, 11/12/09. "Who Needs to Lie When You've Got Psychology" discusses the role of lying in marketing referencing Dean Robert Feldman's research and his book, The Liar in Your Life, several times. It notes, “If Feldman [is] to be believed, we don’t have to be liars to work in advertising. We simply have to create the circumstances in which consumers do the lying to themselves.” Feldman's book continues to receive lots of coverage. Go to his website for details.

Boston Globe, 11/12/09. A sport feature notes that Derek Kellogg, men’s basketball coach, has asked Ricky Harris '10 (communication), the team’s leading scorer, to step up his game for the coming season. Kellogg says he's urging Harris to take a more visible leadership role on the team and expects he’ll do just that.

Star-Ledger [Newark], 11/10/09. Brian Schaffner (political science) comments in a story about why some robo-polls of voters in New Jersey were more accurate than conventional polling in predicting the outcome of the recent election for governor.

New York Times, 11/8/09. M.V. Lee Badgett, comments in two stories in the New York Times. She says employees with domestic partner benefits paid $1,100 more in taxes, on average, than married employees. The issue has been raised because a provision in the House-passed health care bill would have the effect of lowering that tax burden. New York Times Magazine, 11/8/09. Badgett says same-sex couples are less likely to impose gender-based expectations on their children.

NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” 11/7/09. Ray La Raja (political science) comments in a story about whether fundraising for the coming 2010 mid-term congressional elections will keep pace with the enormous sums raised by President Barack Obama’s campaign in the last presidential cycle. La Raja says it’s possible to see that flood of campaign money again, especially for candidates who take sharp ideological positions or are very charismatic.

Springfield Republican, 11/5/09. Hashim “Big City” Bailey '11 (sociology), a 6-foot-10 junior center for the men’s basketball team, is profiled.

Inter Press Service News Agency, 11/2/09. James Heintz '01 (economics), research associate professor with Political Economy Research Institute, says investment in energy efficient buildings and upgrading of the electrical infrastructure of the country will create jobs and help boost the sagging national economy.

Washington Post, 11/2/09. An article by emeritus professor Paul Hollander (sociology) discusses the fall of Soviet communism and lessons that can be drawn from those events. He argues that people who are motivated by lofty ideals can still inflict great suffering on others with a clear conscience and that in the end, human nature precludes utopian social arrangements.

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, 3,800 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 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? Contact James Mallet, 413.545.3945.

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