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SBS Newsletter – November 2012

In this issue

UMass Poll logo Election Media Coverage for UMass Poll
Election season brought extensive media coverage to UMass Poll, which combines Internet polling technology with leading expertise. "The students were so excited that the media were interested in this," says Brian Schaffner, director of UMassPoll and chair of the Political Science Department. "I think the news interest underscored for them the importance of this activity, so it has enriched the experience. I also think it was great exposure for UMass and the awesome things students have the opportunity to do here!" Read more...

Derek KhannaThe Case of the Vanishing Policy Memo
Derek Khanna '09
(political science) made big news this month in Washington related to "an incredibly bold copyright reform memo" he wrote for the Republican Study Committee. “Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where To Start To Fix It” was released and then retracted the next day for a variety of reasons, but not because Khanna isn't well-versed in the subject. A Slate article, which discusses Khanna's points, concludes, "[His] suggestion that Republicans should view copyright less as a kind of 'property' and more as a kind of regulation is a fascinating move on the coalitional chessboard. For now it seems too hot for the Republican Party. But if they’re smart, they’ll think twice."

Clara WoolPromoting Positive Interchange through Environmental Cooperation
On her first trip to Nicaragua in high school, Clara Wool ’13 (environmental design/Middle Eastern studies), who is also a Commonwealth Honors College student, discovered her passion – environmental issues, planning and international development. Her interest only grew when she participated in several additional social action trips to Central America before she even started college. Read more...

Dan LamotheFollowing the Fight
Dan Lamothe '04 (journalism) is an award-winning senior writer with the independent Military Times newspaper chain. To date he has spent about three months in Afghanistan, analyzing the military situation while telling the troops' stories. Stateside in Northern Virginia, Lamothe regularly covers the Pentagon and Marine Corps Base Quantico to seek details about shifts in policy, new equipment, and what senior leaders want to change about the Marine Corps. Read more in his own words.

And other topics of interest...

Ventura PerezThe Violent Truth
With a ground-breaking open-access journal and a one-of-a-kind archaeological field school to his credit, Ventura Pérez (anthropology) is pioneering new ways to investigate violence. While his forensic skills are important, Pérez has made an anthropologic name for himself through his insistent pursuit to see the person behind a crime and the greater societal messages that go along with it. Read more...

Aaron WeckerStudent Captures Presidential Politics First-Hand
If you are one of the hundreds of UMass students who attempted to get tickets to this year’s Scott Brown/Elizabeth Warren Senate Debate in Springfield, you know first-hand how in-demand seats are for such political events. Now imagine you were competing for a seat with the entire US population at one of the presidential debates. The odds of snagging a ticket seem infinitely less likely, don’t they? However, Aaron Wecker ’12 (fall) (political science/journalism) was able to do just that. And for him, it was all a part of networking. Read more...

ISSR logoSBS/UMass Celebrates New Institute for Social Science Research
In late October the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) hosted the inaugural event for the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), featuring Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, Provost James Staros, ISSR Acting Director Jennifer Lundquist, and ISSR Scholars Michelle Budig (sociology) and Robert Ryan (landscape architecture & regional planning), among other honored guests. Watch the summary of the event, put together by Amy Chaunt '13 (journalism) and UVC-TV 19, the student-run campus television station.

Jane FountainFountain Elected to National Academy of Public Administration
Prof. Jane Fountain (political science and public policy) has been elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Chartered by Congress to provide non-partisan expert advice, the National Academy serves as an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations. Read more...

Rendering of the New Academic Classroom BuildingCeremonies Mark Launch of New Building Construction
University officials celebrated the launch of construction of the $95 million New Academic Classroom Building (NACB) that will provide state-of-the-art academic space and create a new hub of student activity near the Campus Center and Student Union. The NACB, scheduled for completion in 2014, will provide 2,000 new classroom seats and will be the new home of Communication, Journalism, Linguistics and Film Studies. Read more...

John OlverUMass Community Honors Rep. John Olver During Symposium
UMass hosted the campus community and area organizations, elected officials and residents while honoring retiring Rep. John Olver during a symposium on Nov. 19. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), spoke about Olver’s strong record at home and abroad in fighting for social justice and defending human rights. CPPA faculty Jane Fountain (political science), Michael Ash (economics) and Charles Schweik (environmental conservation) moderated panels and introduced participants. Read more...

IPO logoSBS Students Receive IPO Recognition for Photography
Five SBS students received recognition in the Fall 2012 Study Abroad Photo Contest, sponsored by the International Programs Office. Congratulations to second place winner Tai-Hsiang Cheng '13G (landscape architecture), and honorable mentions Kwan Ng '13 (political science/Russian & European studies), Yu Liu '14G (landscape architecture), Dina Sandakli '13 (political science) and Molly Conneely '13 (sociology). Take a look...

ISSR logoUMass Remains on Mission 150 Years Later
UMass President Robert L. Caret writes about the ongoing impact of the Morrill Land Grant Act, the federal law passed in 1862 that is the foundation for land grant universities in the U.S., of which the UMass system is one: "One hundred fifty years ago, during the darkest days of the Civil War, a single piece of legislation forever changed the landscape of higher education in the United States. Introduced by Vermont Congressman Justin Smith Morrill, it sought to create a national system of public higher education to ensure that a college degree would be available to many and not just be the province of a few." Read more...

Upcoming Events
Thu, Nov. 29. Living Sustainably, with Dr. Guy McPherson. Sponsored by the Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC), the Stockbridge School of Agriculture and the UMass Permaculture Initiative. Free and open to the public. Apple cider and dessert will be served. 6:30-7:30 pm, Campus Center, Room 165-69

Thu, Dec. 6. Interdisciplinary Seminar on Conflict and Violence: David Mednicoff (Center for Public Policy and Administration). "Law and the Arab Uprisings of 2011: Theorizing legal issues and political change in non-Western contexts." All welcome; light refreshments.12-1:00 pm, 521B Tobin Hall.

Mon, Dec. 10. How to Find Internships. Find out why UMass Amherst Ranks in the Top Ten by US World and News for students participating in internships! For current students. Sponsored by Career Services. 12:30-1:30 pm, 508 Goodell. Many more sessions are scheduled for December and resuming in late January for the duration of the second semester. Check the calendar for additional sessions.

Wed, Jan. 9. Boston Area Student-Alumni Networking Event. Planning to spend winter break in the Boston area? Get a leg up on your career plans by talking to alumni from different industries about your career options and next steps. Students can register online. Alumni who are interested in helping our students learn about networking and the world of work and careers should contact Jackie Brousseau-Pereira. 4:30 pm, City Year Boston, 287 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116.

For more SBS-related events, go to the SBS Events Calendar.

Alumni News
Marilou Barsam '74 (journalism) has published The Evolution of Online Marketing and the Marketer's Quest for ROI, a review of the major concepts and trends that have shaped the evolution of online marketing over the last 10-12 years, as well as commentary on how marketers were challenged to prove ROI along the way. Barsam pioneered TargetROI, the first integrated lead guarantee program in the digital media industry, which was also the first program intended to prove return on investment for online sponsors. She attended the SBS Dean’s Communication-Journalism luncheon in Boston earlier this month.

T.J. Houpes III '12 (journalism) is an editorial assistant with CryoGas International, a business journal that covers the gas industry.

Miracle Kid: The Seventeen Year Old Newborn by Zach Gauvin '01 (journalism), a book about his recovery from a traumatic brain injury, is on its way to the big screen with "a little luck." He's met with screenwriter Sean Dunn ("who sounded very confident") and book-to-screen coordinator Eva Konstantopoulos for the pitch to the Hollywood people.

Peter Farrell '98 (legal studies) is a senior associate at Smith & Brink, P.C., a civil litigation firm in Braintree, MA. Read a Q&A with him about his work in the law, law school, student loan debts and more.

Listen to an interview about the art of interviewing with Audie Cornish '01 (journalism), co-host of NPR’s "All Things Considered."

Former UMass athletes Khari Mitchell-Samuel '99 (communication), one of the all-time great linebackers in the history of the UMass football; Tim Soudan '91 (economics), whose 84 lacrosse goals still rank as the best-ever by a midfielder; and Octavia Thomas '96 (communication/Afro-Am studies), the second highest scorer in the history of the women's basketball program, will be among the five alumni inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame on January 26, 2013. Read more...

The fall UMass Magazine featured Seth Kamil '86 (STPEC), founder and owner of NYC's Big Onion Walking Tours. "The Sidewalk Historian" discusses his 21-year career of devising a vast array of history-based tours for people who like intellectual stimulation. "I found his tours wildly entertaining," says Asst. Prof. Jonathan Wynn (sociology), who took 10 Big Onion walking tours while doing research for his book The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York (U. of Chicago Press, 2011). There are other UMass connections, so be sure to read the article!

The magazine also featured an article about UMass pollsters, including Rob Farbman '89 (political science), sr. vice president of Edison Research who oversees of the National Election Pool that supplies real-time exit polling data to major media outlets.

Erika Lovley '06 (journalism) is an assistant editor for POLITICO, writing for and editing the commentary section, Arena. Previously, she covered Congressional news. Read more...

Therapist Debby Sabin '86 (sociology) is founder and director of Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program in Lincoln, MA. This nonprofit organization offers therapy for children with a wide variety of significant special needs, such as cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, and genetic and terminal illnesses. Read more...

Caroline Bagby '11 (journalism) is a marketing assistant for the New England Patriots, doing website development, event planning, newsletter communication, etc. "While I'm not doing a ton of writing I have become the main editing source in the marketing department," she says.

Julie Varney '12 (journalism) recently got a new job working for the website of, Boston's NPR station.The first story she worked on was about preparations for Hurricane Sandy.

Thomas R. Tavella '85 (environmental design), president-elect and a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), was on campus in late October, as a presenter in the Zube Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP). Tavella realized a passion for sustainable infrastructure well before LEED and sustainable design were common practice. He is a constant advocate for visibility and growth of the landscape architecture profession, and his leadership in public relations has contributed to significant increases in media coverage and public awareness. More on Tavella...

On Nov. 1 Michael Boucher '81 (environmental design) also presented a Zube lecture for LARP. He has practiced landscape architecture for over 28 years, and his project experience includes site planning and design for public and private schools, universities, public parks, residential properties, and various types and scales of land development. His professional landscape design firm is located in southern Maine.

Joel Zuckerman '83 (communication) is the author of Kiawah Golf: The Game's Elegant Island (The History Press), with a foreword by legendary golf course architect Pete Dye. Zuckerman lives in Savannah, GA. Read article...

Author, speaker, trainer Maura Nevel Thomas '92 (economics/psychology), who is on a mission to help people have more control over their time, attention and quality of life, has written Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention...and regain control of your life (John Wiley & Sons). Read a Q&A with Thomas.

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.

Faculty and Department News
BJ Roche (journalism) has been selected as one of 12 fellows to the 2013 Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The weeklong institute includes activities and workshops designed to help develop an entrepreneurial journalism curriculum. Roche, who teaches Entrepreneurial Journalism, is designing a second level of the course. Also, Roche is among several UMass faculty taking part in the New Legislators Workshop, sponsored by the UMass President's Office. Her panel will look at social media, communication and public relations for newly-elected Massachusetts legislators.

For his cutting-edge use of open-source software in the classroom and as a research focus, Charles Schweik (environmental conservation and public policy) has been named one of this year’s top 50 innovators in education by the Center for Digital Education, a national research and advisory institute specializing in education technology trends, policy and funding. Read more...

Earlier this month financial expert Doug Cliggott '78 (economics), who has been teaching in the Economics Department since September, presented a webinar entitled "Economic Update: The Election and the Economy." It is now viewable online. You'll be prompted to install WebEx Network Recording Player, which is free and takes only a few moments, if you don't already have it on your computer.

Jack Ahern (landscape architecture and regional planning), vice provost for International Programs, presented an invited research paper at the international workshop "Frontiers in Urban Ecological Research and Planning: Linking Ideas from the East and the West," held Oct. 25-30 in Shanghai, China. Ahern's paper was titled "A model and research agenda for safe-to-fail adaptive planning and design."

PhD candidate Alper Yagci (political science) has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the "Regulation of Genetically Modified Seeds in Developing Countries." The grant will support comparative field research in Argentina and Brazil on three commercially significant crops: cotton, maize, and soy. Read more...

SBS in the News
The Middle East Channel, 11/26/12. Interviewed about the most recent round of protests in Jordan, Jillian Schwedler (political science) says they are based on dissatisfaction with economic conditions but also reflect a desire by some Jordanians to get rid of their monarchy. Aljazeera, Yahoo! Maktoob News, 10/29/12. A column by Schwedler examines the delicate balance between how Jordan’s King Abdullah is talking to the West about democratic reform in his country, but taking little action towards those goal; instead he seems focused on maintaining the power base of the monarchy.

New York Times [Economix blog], 11/26/12. Nancy Folbre (economics) discusses why the economic interests of capitalists are beginning to diverge significantly from the interests of social conservatives. New York Times [Economix blog], 11/19/12. Folbre writes about the impact that child-rearing has on children as well as society and the economy. The Atlantic, 11/15/12. In an article about women being better educated and earning more money than ever, Liza Mundy, author of The Richer Sex, idenitifies some academic feminists, including Folbre, who tend to look only at the half-empty part of the picture. While Mundy acknowleges there is still plenty of room for improvement and thinks "it's awesome that this Fempire has become an American institution," she also believes "the conversation needs to be enlarged and updated." New York Times [Economix blog], 11/12/12. Folbre discusses how credit card payment networks and card-issuing banks are taking advantage of their market power to extract more and more revenue from small businesses. She calls attention to how hard it is for merchants even to figure out what fees they will be charged. New York Times [Economix blog], 11/5/12. Nancy Folbre (economics) addresses the ongoing fight over credit card and debit card swipe fees. New York Times [Economix blog], 10/29/12. Folbre says some recent studies that claim the economic advantage enjoyed by men is coming to an end are overstated. The studies don’t take into account many factors including family choices and traditional gender roles in families but are concentrated mostly on young, college educated women. The gender pay gap is still out there and shows no sign of disappearing. New York Times [Economix blog], 10/22/12. Folbre says the consumer-driven shift from for-profit banks to credit unions—to avoid high fees for late payments and overdrafts and earn higher interest—is probably more effective than regulation of these fees.

Bend Bulletin [Oregon], The Day [Conn.], 11/25/12; Union-Bulletin [Walla Walla, Wash.], 11/23/12; Edge Boston, 11/19/12;, WMGM-TV 40 [Atlantic City, N.J.], CBS 3, 11/18/12; LGBT Weekly, 11/15/12; Instinct, 11/13/12; KING-TV 5 [Seattle],,, San Francisco Chronicle, Sun Journal [Maine] [all from AP], 11/12/12. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration and research director at UCLA's Williams Institute, says new gay marriage laws passed by voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington will generate a total of $166 million in new spending in the next three years. That means new jobs and a boost for tax revenues.

The Real News Network, 11/25/12. Discussing a new study on capital flight from countries in Northern Africa, Leonce Ndikumana (economics) estimates that $619 billion has been embezzled from these countries between 1970 and 2010. About half the money borrowed by African countries ends up in private bank accounts in the form of capital flight—and big international banks know this. New England Public Radio, 10/25/12. Interview with economists Léonce Ndikumana, former director of the Development Research Department at the African Development Bank, and Mwangi wa Githinji, who were the keynote speakers at Five College Africa Day at Mount Holyoke.

The Economist, 11/24/12. A story on the ongoing argument among economists about the value of minimum wage laws notes that Arindrajit Dube (economics) is among those who contend that raising the minimum wage doesn’t cause job losses. His views are based on studies of restaurant employment across contiguous counties between 1990 and 2006.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 11/23/12. David Mednicoff (public policy), director of Middle Eastern studies, comments in a story about the most recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. He says many Americans don’t pay attention to global politics and have little understanding of the fundamental drivers of the conflict. Huffington Post, 11/19/12. Mednicoff shares his views on Gaza, noting in particular, "Just because Israelis and Palestinians have different versions of the same history doesn't mean that we can compare (and then judge, and even dehumanize) them fairly on particular measures where one side doesn't measure up." This blog piece was at the top of the featured posts section of the Huff Post's main front page and its world pages. Huffington Post, 11/5/12. David Mednicoff (public policy) blogs about how he began the presidential election cycle with moderate views and ended up feeling outrage about how Mitt Romney and the Republicans have behaved., 11/19/12. Texifter, a text analysis start-up company headed by Stuart Shulman (political science), director of the Qualitative Data Analysis Program, is launching access to two major blog data streams as part of its collaboration with Columbia University., 11/13/1. Jonathan Rosa (anthropology) discusses the history and evolution of terms such as “illegal immigrants,” “illegals” and “undocumented” and their meanings to different parts of the political spectrum.

Springfield Republican, 11/7/12. Ray LaRaja (political science) says Elizabeth Warren's effectiveness as a legislator will be determined in part by how her colleagues on the other side of the aisle respond to her.

New York Times [You're the Boss blog], 11/2/12. Michael Ash (economics) is interviewed on the question of whether the Massachusetts health care reform law passed when Mitt Romney was governor helps or hinders entrepreneurship in the state.  He says while Massachusetts did see a decline in economic activity because of the recession and financial crisis, the state didn’t decline as much as the national or regional economy.

The Guardian [U.K.], 10/27/12. An article on racial prejudice in the US cites the new book, Documenting Desegregation, by Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (sociology) and Kevin Stainback, that finds the American workplace is becoming more segregated and is no longer making progress toward equal employment opportunity. Washington Post, 10/25/12. A column by Tomaskovic-Devey and Stainback discusses the research published in their new book. Changes that began after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 continued through the 1970s but generally had halted in the 1980s.

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, 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, 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