University of Massachusetts Amherst

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

SBS logo

Make a Gift

Thompson Hall in October

SBS Newsletter – October 2010

In this issue

Erica ScharrerCreating Knowledge, Teaching Motivate Comm Prof
When Associate Professor Erica Scharrer (communication) was an undergraduate at SUNY Geneseo, she was sure that broadcast journalism was her future. “The next Diane Sawyer, I’d tell people,” she says. “I ran my college TV station, worked at the college radio station in news, and did multiple internships. I even got a job right after graduation as news director for a small radio station in Northeastern Pennsylvania.” Read more...

Conference attendeesStudent Success Conference Gets Rave Reviews
On Friday, October 8, 2010 the first annual New England Conference for Student Success took place at the Campus Center. Attended by a sell-out crowd of 300 from 61 institutions of higher education and a number of vendors, the conference focused on effective strategies for educating the whole student and was co-sponsored by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and McGraw-Hill Publishers. This conference brought together regional faculty and administrators, as well as professional staff in academic and student affairs, to share practices that help students succeed in higher education. Read more...

Elizabeth BrabecLandscape Architect Brings Breadth of Experience to Lead Department
As an undergraduate searching for a direction, Elizabeth Brabec, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, wanted to find a way to marry science and art. “My focus on the environment was strong, due largely to my grandmother’s influence,” Brabec says. “Because I’d grown up on a farm, my love of animals and nature was strong, too. But it wasn’t until I met a landscape architect that I had that eureka moment. Suddenly, it all fell into place and my path into landscape architecture was set.” Read more...

Steven Jango-ChoenScholarships Help Student Attain Goals
“During junior year I faced a complicated set of circumstances,” says Steven Jango-Cohen ’11 (communication/Spanish). “I really wanted to study abroad and do an internship before graduation. Money was definitely an issue. If I went abroad, then I wouldn’t have time to do a senior-year internship because I’d have to work to cover the debt incurred from living abroad.” Read more...

And other topics of interest...

Ventura PerezNew Journal Focuses on Violence, Past and Present
October 2010 marks the launch of a new journal, Landscapes of Violence, based at UMass Amherst and edited by Assistant Professor Ventura Pérez ’00 MA, ’06 PhD (anthropology). This peer-reviewed periodical, that grew out of a 2008 conference of the same title, focuses on theoretical and empirical issues around and conversations about violence, conflict, and trauma in past and present populations. Intended to be an inclusive platform, designed to reach a broad audience of scientists, academics, policymakers, and the public, LoV is an open-access journal, sponsored by ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst and produced by the Berkeley Electronic Press. Read more...

Brian SchaffnerPolls Changing as Cell Phones Replace Land Lines, says Schaffner
Political polling in the U.S. is undergoing significant changes because of the growing popularity of cell phones and the diminishing number of Americans with traditional land lines, says Brian F. Schaffner (political science). The shift to cell phones means that traditional public opinion polls based on calling large random samples of the population that have been familiar since the 1950s really don't exist anymore. "Polling is getting more difficult," Schaffner says. "No matter how you do it, you can't get a truly random sample." Read more... Watch Channel 22 news clip...

Working mom

Lowest Paid Moms Hit Hardest by Wage Penalty, Says Study
Having children reduces women's earnings, even among workers with comparable qualifications, experience, work hours and jobs, according to research conducted by the Sociology Department's Michelle J. Budig and graduate student Melissa J. Hodges. While all women suffer negative earnings consequences from having children, they found the lowest-paid women lose the most from motherhood. This earnings penalty ranges from 15 percent per child among low-wage workers to about 4 percent among the highly paid. Read more about the study... The findings, published in the October issue of the American Sociological Review, have received broad international media coverage. Budig also testified on the issue before Congress in late September.

Fulbright logoAlumni Win Fulbright Scholarships for International Teaching and Research
Five alumni, including Leif Walcutt '10 (journalism), have been awarded Fulbright scholarships for international studies for this academic year. They are among more than 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad during the 2010-11 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Read more...

Chancellor Robert HolubNew Academic Building Announced
Plans are underway to erect a new $85 million building to provide 1,800 state-of-the-art classroom seats and space for programs, including Communication, Journalism and Linguistics, by January 2014. The Commonwealth will contribute $65 million to the construction through a Higher Education Bond Bill. Read more...

Chancellor Robert Holub'Become What We Are' is Holub's Convocation Message
Chancellor Robert Holub addressed the sixth annual Faculty Convocation on Oct. 1 with a confident and assuring message that nevertheless acknowledged the seriousness of the budgetary challenges facing the campus in the immediate future. Eight members of the faculty were honored for outstanding accomplishments in "research and creative activity," including Jane Fountain (political science and public policy) and Lynnette Leidy Sievert (anthropology). Read more and listen to his address.

George ParksGeorge Parks Remembered
On Saturday October 16, George N. Parks, the late director of the Minuteman Marching Band, was remembered at a celebration of his life at the Mullins Center. Speakers at the event included State Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, a former band member, UMass President Jack M. Wilson and Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor, as well as former band members. More than 900 former "band-os" returned to campus to honor their beloved leader. Parks died unexpectedly at age 57 when the band was traveling to perform at half-time during the UMass-Michigan football game in September. Read more and view photo gallery. Watch a video of the celebration. Watch video of the half-time band tribute to Parks at the Homecoming football game following the memorial celebration.

Gerald GradyHonorary Alum, Longtime Employee Gerald Grady Dies
We are sorry to report that honorary alumnus Gerald J. Grady, 88, died of a heart attack on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010 at his home in Amherst. His long affiliation with UMass began in 1959, as a business manager and later coordinator of alumni affairs and community relations. He taught in the political science department and designed a course on practical politics. Says Steven Etkin '81 (political science), I know he was more an administrator, but I remember taking a course on the Congress with him in 1980 or so. His exams were among the most comprehensive I encountered at UMass. I still greatly enjoy reading about politics, the presidency, and congressional issues. Mr. Grady, through his position as community relations coordinator and his interest in the band, was great ombudsman for UMass." Read more...

Career Services logoAlumni and Students: Career Services Offers Career Fairs
Career Services will be hosting two major career fairs: the ALANA Career Fair 2011 on February 8 and the Career Blast 2011 on February 9. In addition, between these two events on the evening of February 8, Career Services will sponsor a networking event. Alumni: If your organization is looking for diverse, talented and enthusiastic employees for full-time, co-op and/or internship opportunities, these events are for you! Click here to register your organization (by January 15 to be included in advance publicity). Students: Don't miss these opportunities to interact with alumni (and other potential employers) who are looking to hire. Two events in two days with an evening of networking tucked in between. Click here for more details.

Upcoming Events
Bookmark 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.

Alumni News
Former UMass basketball star Gary Forbes '08 (communication) has made the opening roster of the NBA's Denver Nuggets. He played for the Minutemen from 2006-08. Read more...

Gov. Deval Patrick has nominated Richard J. Carey '76 (journalism) of Easthampton, MA to become a Superior Court judge, pending confirmation by the Governor’s Council. Carey has been a district court judge for the past 11 years. Read more...

Kevin KnoblochThe Union of Concerned Scientists, headed by Kevin Knobloch '78 (journalism), has joined the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of unions and greens pushing for greenhouse gas limits and policies to create "green jobs." Says Knobloch, “The interests of union members and scientists merge when good jobs build a cleaner, more resilient economy and we are thrilled to be a part of this unique alliance.” Read more... Knobloch was on campus October 18, hosted by the Environmental Institute and the Political Science Department. He discussed the failure (largely) of the American political system to address the looming catastrophe of climate change, even though leading the world in driving down greenhouse gas emissions and aggressively transitioning to a clean energy economy is in our best interests. Read more... Watch a news video wrap-up of the event (WWLP Channel 22 Springfield). Listen to an interview on WFCR.

Melanie DeSilva '94 (social thought and political economy/communication) is taking over management of marketing and recruitment for University Without Walls, UMass's non-traditional adult degree completion program. Calling UWW one of the oldest, most prestigious adult bachelor's degree completion programs in the nation, DeSilva said she will be building on that reputation in developing "powerful and effective" marketing and recruitment strategies for UWW.  Read more...

Christine G. [Solt] Savage '92 (political science), chair of the Healthcare Group at Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP in Boston, has been named by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as a "Top Woman of Law" for 2010 She was selected for outstanding leadership, vision, passion, and advocacy in the healthcare industry. Read more...

Blasen Landscape Architecture of San Anselmo, CA, owned by Eric Blasen MLA '89 and his wife Silvina, received this year's American Society of Landscape Architects Residential Honor Award. The winning project, entitled “Urban Play Garden,” is located in the Buena Vista Park neighborhood of San Francisco. The project also earned a 2010 Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Northern California Chapter. Read more...

Brendan O'Meara '04 (journalism) has signed a book contract with SUNY Press for Six Weeks in Saratoga: How a Three-Year-Old Filly Won the Woodward Stakes and Became Horse of the Year. Also, the Good Men Project Magazine published O'Meara's essay, "The Last Championship," which will be the basis for a father-son baseball memoir. O'Meara's dad never missed a Little League game and he's now star of a seniors only baseball team. Visit O'Meara's website, which includes a blog.

S.P. Sullivan '10 (journalism) is an online producer at, doing some exciting things, including liveblogging/livestreaming and “reverse publishing” (stories appearing online before being printed). He recently shared his experiences in Mary Carey's Intro to Journalism class.

On October 21 Julie Robenhymer '04 (journalism), who works at, was a guest speaker in Prof. Steve Fox's Sports Journalism class.

Niko Chauls '98 (journalism) came back to campus to visit some classes. Chauls, managing editor for MSN and Bing video, lives in Seattle and works for Microsoft. In Norman Sims's class, he asked if students could translate a bit of corporate jargon. One brave student gave it a try and did a good job. Chauls awarded the student with a brand new Xbox 360. The others also got a prize: a No. 2 pencil. Chauls's message: In the world of high speed journalism today, there is no second place!

Carol B. Rosenberg '81 (journalism) has been covering Guantanamo for the Miami Herald for several years. Tweeting from outside the courtroom (no electronic devices allowed inside) during the trial, she wrote to Prof. BJ Roche (journalism), "My theory of twitter from Guantanamo is this: Since they set the place up to be 'off the grid'—legally, PR-wise, etc.—and communications are really lousy…tweeting is a way to get a level of detail out from the war court (following journalistic disciplines) for people in the Pentagon, NGO and legal communities, plus others, who really want to follow developments as they happen. And lawyers in particular tell me they do follow them, like little one-line old wire service vintage bulletins, update, advisories."

The Boston Celtics have released former Minuteman basketball player Tony Gaffney '10 (sociology). Read more...

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

Department/Faculty News
Tom Juravich (labor studies) read from his book, At the Altar of the Bottom Line: The Degradation of Work in the 21st Century, at the Communication Workers of America's national conference Oct. 21 in San Diego. Read more...

An essay by Prof. Karen List (journalism) about her daughter's oncology nurse, Bonnie Strudas, has been selected in a national competition for inclusion in a book to be published by CURE Media Group. Karen adapted the essay from her nomination of Bonnie for the 2010 Mass General "one hundred," an effort that honors the most dedicated people associated with Massachusetts General Hospital. Ted Kennedy, Jr. spoke at the June 2 awards dinner, where a special video highlighted three of the winners, including Bonnie. List's words provided the voice-over.

Jane Anderson (anthropology) is the first in the cluster hire for international heritage studies, affiliated with the Center for Heritage and Society. She will be moderating a panel as part of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice's "Intellectual Property Empowerment Summit" at Howard University School of Law in November. Read more...

Elizabeth Chilton (anthropology) spoke in Pelham about what actually happened at the first Thanksgiving feast. The talk is one of three in the Pelham Library’s second Native American Lecture Series scheduled for three Thursdays before Thanksgiving.

Nancy Cohen (journalism) facilitated a discussion with Connecticut gubernatorial candidates Dan Malloy, Tom Foley and Tom Marsh in mid-October at Yale University. The candidates discussed their approaches to various environmental issues the state is facing.

The U.S. State Department has recruited Prof. Steve Fox (journalism) to teach multimedia journalism in Sri Lanka in December. Also, in late October he was in D.C. at the Online News Association's annual conference, hoping to push conversations about partnerships between news organizations and academia. Read more about these partnerships and other musings on journalism on Fox's blog.

David Mednicoff (legal studies and public policy), associate director and honors director for the Social Thought and Political Economy Program, has been selected as a 2010-11 Dubai Initiative Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Read more...

BJ Roche (journalism) is responsible for the UMass Journalism Launchpad blog which includes resources, news and commentary about internships, careers and the media business for UMass journalism majors. Take a look...

The Labor Center has joined the Sociology Department and moved to Thompson Hall, right in the center of campus. The Center is still running all of its programs, teaching the same courses and offering master's degrees through both the full-time residential and the limited residential programs. For more about the Labor Center, click here.

Coming up this spring the Center for Heritage and Society is sponsoring an international, interdisciplinary conference. The goal is to bring together a wide range of academics, public officials, planners, educators, heritage professionals, and community leaders to examine the practical value of the past by means of a rigorous humanities and social science reexamination through five distinct thematic lenses: Identity, Culture, Ecology, Economics, and Civil Society. The conference will feature presented papers and posters, workshops, 3 distinguished plenary speakers, and optional field trips to heritage sites in Western Massachusetts. Additional information on the conference, including instructions for submitting an abstract, can be found at the conference website.

SBS in the News
The Real News Network, 10/28/10. James Boyce (economics), director of the Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment at the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses the sharpening difference in how conservatives and liberals view the role of government., 10/28/10. B.J. Roche (journalism) offers realistic advice to parents of students who are choosing a college. She says consulting rankings or the many books about choosing schools should be secondary to focusing on what the student wants to accomplish and what level of debt the family can handle. She also notes that parents should factor in continued financial support for students after graduation because good-paying jobs are scarce even for educated people., 10/1/10. Roche blogs about working women in their 40s and 50s who also are caregivers for elderly parents. She cites (and links to) an essay by Jackie Brousseau-Pereira MPA '00, director of external affairs for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences., 10/27/10. Speaking at a World Development Movement meeting in London, Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, noted that regulating food speculation in the City of London is the lynchpin to preventing volatility over food prices. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/15/10. Pollin  comments in a story about the lack of jobs in the so-called green energy sector. The story focuses on Crowder College, a small school in Missouri that educates students about alternative energy, and why it is attracting very few students. Pollin says the job market for green energy is very poor in part because federal stimulus funding for energy projects has not been spent.  St. Petersburg Times, 10/12/10. Pollin's work is cited in a news story about a Florida congressional candidate who is proposing to make his region a center for green energy jobs and innovation. Huffington Post, 10/12/10. A columnist notes that Pollin has suggested forcing banks with large reserves to begin lending or face financial penalties. The Real News Network, 10/12/10. Pollin answers questions about recent comments he made about why so-called “deficit hawks” are wrong about what’s happening in the U.S. economy. The Nation, 9/30/10. A recent proposal by Pollin calls for the federal government to create strong incentives for both lending by banks to small business and for businesses to seek loans. He says currently the private credit markets are locked up, especially for small businesses. Pollin’s proposal uses federal loan guarantees to boost bank lending and a tax on excess reserves held by banks.

New York Times (blog), 10/25/10. Nancy Folbre (economics) writes in the Economix blog about recent research by Michelle Budig (sociology) and graduate student Melissa Hodges. Their results show that women with the lowest earnings experience the largest motherhood penalty: loss of wages when they have children. Folbre says many of the high-income women running for office in this election cycle appear to be unaware of this trend., 10/19/10. A blogger doing research notes that the book, Valuing Children by Folbre, helped her understand why parents invest so much money, time and effort in their children.

The Real News Network, 10/25/10. A study conducted by Jeffrey Thompson (Political Economy Research Institute) finds that when age and education are factored in, state and local workers actually earn less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts. The wage penalty for state and local government workers in New England is close to 3%, he says. MetroWest Daily News, 10/17/10. An editorial says Massachusetts officials should concentrate on policies that actually create jobs during the current economic downturn. It cites and links to a report by Thompson that says spending on education and infrastructure is more effective than giving tax breaks to business.

WAMC [Northeast Public Radio], 10/22/2010. Roundtable host Joe Donahue spoke with Dean Robert Feldman about his book, The Liar in Your Life: The Way to Truthful Relationships.  Mercury News [San Jose, Calif.], 10/12/10. Dean Robert Feldman is interviewed about his research on lying. His recent book, The Liar in Your Life, continues to receive lots of media attention around the world.

Newsweek, 10/17/10. Ray La Raja (political science) says self-financed, millionaires such as Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman may not have to worry about money, but they also don’t have some of the key skills needed to be successful politicians. He says raising money is often a key test of whether a candidate is viable because it builds a network of supporters.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 10/16/10. An analysis of the the political campaigns in the 1st and 2nd Massachusetts Congressional Districts includes comments from political scientists Brian Schaffner and Jerome Mileur, professor emeritus., 10/13/10. Gerald Epstein (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, writes a column about why professional economists failed to see the global financial crisis before it unfolded. He says economists were using the wrong models and in some cases were compromised by having personal interests in the system that collapsed.

Boston Globe, 10/13/10. The Maynard family of Chelmsford, MA, including daughter Elizabeth '11 (social thought and political economy), travelled to the White House for a ceremony where President Barack Obama touted the value of a tax credit that allows families such as the Maynards to send their children to college.

Newsweek, 10/13/10. Ralph Whitehead Jr. (journalism), who studies press and politics, comments about Republican Sean Bielat's chances to unseat U.S. Rep. Barney Frank in Massachusetts' Fourth Congressional District. Because the congressman has a high public profile and can raise large sums of money for his defense, Whitehead says the likelihood of ousting Frank is low.

Marketplace [NPR], 10/11/10. Jane D’Arista (Political Economy Research Institute) is interviewed about the price of currency and how it is affecting international trade. She says countries that undervalue their currency gain an advantage in exporting while currencies that are overvalued make goods more expensive at home and push wages and employment down.

Springfield Republican, 10/1/10. Michael Arad, designer of the World Trade Center Memorial, spoke Sept. 30 in a program, co-sponsored by the Architecture and Design Program, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning and the Dartmouth Club of the Pioneer Valley.

The Hill [Wash., D.C.], 9/30/10. Michelle Budig (sociology) writes about how parenthood exacerbates the gender pay gap that was highlighted in a recent report from the Government Accounting Office. That report showed that women managers, compared with men in management positions, are far less likely to be married, to be parents and to have smaller families. She also notes that recent research she has done shows that for women, having children imposes a motherhood penalty that increases with each child they have. (More on that in this issue)

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, 3,700 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, student 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.

Back to Top

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