SBS Newsletter – September 2011
In this issue
Archaeologist Focuses on African Diaspora through Race, Gender and Class
Cultural Immersion Satisfies Student Leader
LARP Pilots Summer Youth Program in Springfield
Straight Talk About Teen Sex
Servaes Named UNESCO Chair in Communication
Website Launched for Upcoming Egyptian Elections
SBS Wing Thing Welcomes Students, Raffles iPads
Bike Share Organizers Recognized
Lights, Camera, Scholarships, Landscaping
Governor Appoints New Trustees
Stirring Up a World Record
New Student Convocation Welcomes Class of 2015
UMass Tops for Internship Participation
UMass Amherst Among Top Campuses for LGBT Students
Thursday, October 6: Eleanor Bateman Alumni Scholar in Residence lecture. Award-winning journalist Peter Thomson '85 (STPEC) speaking “Journalism, the Environment and the Future.” 4:30–5:30 p.m. Memorial Hall. Reception follows. Free but please register. Sponsored by the Alumni Association.
Wednesday, October 19: Distinguished Faculty Lecture: Donald W. Katzner (economics). "UMass Amherst’s Radical Revolution in Economics, 1965-1981." 4:00 p.m. Goodell, Bernie Dallas Room. Free and open to all. Reception follows. Sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of the Provost.
Wednesday, October 26: Alumni 2.0: Life After UMass. Panel discussion that gives students a glimpse of where their UMass Amherst education and experiences can take them. 5:30 –8:30 p.m., Memorial Hall. Light food and refreshments, courtesy of Arizona Pizza Company; sponsored by the Department of Economics.
Thursday, October 27: Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series. Thomas McDade, Ph.D., professor of anthropology and director of the Laboratory for Human Biology Research, Northeastern University. "Early Environments, Stress, and the Eco-logics of Inflammation". 4– 5:00 p.m., Campus Center, Room 917. Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Center for Research on Families.
From time to time the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences sponsors lectures, panels and programs that may be of special interest to alumni. Most of these take place on campus, generally in the late afternoon or early evening, and are free. If you are interested in receiving notification of these events, let us know and we'll put you on a listserv.
Kirsten Swenson '10 (journalism/political science) works for for Schwartz MSL, a communications firm in Waltham, Mass. Chelsea Dugan '11 (journalism/sociology) is interning there, working primarily in the healthcare practice.
Brendan Hall '07 (journalism/history), the editor of ESPN Boston's high school sports page, recently came to campus and spoke in Mary Carey's Journ 300 class.
Brendan O'Meara '05 (journalism) read from Six Weeks in Saratoga, his non-fiction account of the 2009 Saratoga Springs racing season at the Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley. He was introduced by his former professor, Madeleine Blais.
Rebecca Fowler '09 (anthropology) received a University of Kent International Scholarship for 2011–12. She is entering the Master of Science in Environmental Social Science program through the School of Social Policy, Sociology, and Social Research at the University of Kent Canterbury in the UK. Her senior honors thesis in the Department of Anthropology examined undergraduate environmentalists' framing of climate change issues and activist strategies for social change.
Dan Wetzel '94 (journalism), Yahoo! staff member, reported on the Ground Zero memorial service.
Audie Cornish '01 (journalism), host of NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday," poignantly remembered 9/11 on her program. Click here to listen.
Gail Collins MA '70 (politics) is op-ed columnist for the New York Times. In 2001 she was the first woman appointed editor of the Times editorial page. At the beginning of 2007, she stepped down to finish a sequel to her book, America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines.The result: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present. Collins returned to the Times as a columnist in 2007.
Thomas R. Tavella, FASL ’85 (environmental design), director of design at Fuss & O’Neill, Inc., has been elected president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). He has served the profession in many capacities, both at the state and national level. He has been president and trustee of the Connecticut Chapter of ASLA while serving on its executive committee from 1997-2007. On the national level, Tavella has served as ASLA vice president of communications; two terms as chair of the Public Relations Advisory Committee; and chair of the Professional Practice Networks. Tavella begins his three-year presidential track (president-elect, president, past president) with the coming annual meeting in late October.
Jeffrey A. Olszewski, ASLA ’99 (landscape architecture), senior landscape architect at Fuss & O’Neill, Inc., has been elected president of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (CTASLA). Previously he has been CTASLA vice president and member-at-large while serving on the chapter’s executive committee from 2006-present. Olszewski begins his term as president with the coming annual meeting in late October.
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
Students in Steve Fox's Investigative Journalism class are producing a series of stories about the aftermath of the June 2011 tornadoes for the Boston Globe. Find their articles here.
Razvan Sibii (journalism) is co-author of a chapter in Examining Education, Media and Dialogue Under Occupation: The Case of Palestine and Israel.
Nancy Cohen (journalism) has been covering the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in Vermont. Read and listen to: "Washed Out Roads, Bridges Leave Some Vermonters Stranded" and "Initial Shock of Irene Is Waning, but Emotions Still Raw in Vermont."
Last summer Tom Leatherman (anthropology) gave the inaugural lecture for a new interdisciplinary seminar series (combining social sciences, environmental studies, and medicine) called "Ecosindemias y Ecosalud" at La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) in Lima.
The Labor Center teamed up with the Political Economy Research Center and the Center for Popular Economics to take a hard look at the future of work in Massachusetts. The result was a conference titled "Labor's Agenda for Economic Development," held on campus September 22–23 with Amy Dean as the keynote speaker.
In conjunction with Constitution Day on September 21, the Political Science Department explored constitutional developments in the U.S., Middle East and Latin America as part of a panel discussion titled "Emerging Democracies: A Global Perspective on Constitutional Politics."
The Political Economy Research Institute held a two-day conference, "Capitalism on Trial," in honor of University of Michigan professor emeritus of economics Thomas Weisskopf.
Jane Anderson (anthropology) was a keynote speaker at the International Technical Symposium in Muscat, Oman. Her topic was Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development: Documentation and Registration of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions.
The Center for Teaching and Faculty Development has awarded five faculty teams the Microsoft IMPACT Grant for Blended Learning. The grant supports the design of blended courses that enhance learning through innovative uses of technologies. Among the recipients is the Department of Political Science. Ray LaRaja and Jesse Rhodes will redesign POLSCI 101: American Politics. By incorporating rich online content, videos, tutorials, and simulations into the course, the instructors hope to more fully engage students in intense analyses of politics. Read more...
SBS in the News
BBC Radio, 9/28/2011. On the program "Thinking Allowed," visiting professor Jonathan R. Wynn (sociology) discusses his recent book, The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York (University of Chicago Press). Read more about the book, which has been described as a "masterful fieldwork" and "an artful analysis of this gripping facet of contemporary urban life."
Bloomberg, 9/26/11. Jeffrey Thompson (Political Economy Research Institute) says cutbacks among state and local government workers are a significant drag on the national economy. Rutland Herald [Vt.], 9/20/11. It's good news that Vermont has steadily gained jobs, says Thompson, but the state hasn’t created enough new jobs to lower its unemployment rate.
New York Times (Economix blog), 9/26/11. In a recent survey of best countries for women, the U.S. ranked 8th, but Nancy Folbre (economics) says that the criteria used don’t measure all of the economics factors that impact women. Policies relevant to mothers, early childhood education and paid leave should be added to more traditional economic indicators, she says. Macleans.ca [Canada], 9/21/11. Folbre comments on the new book, Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital by Catherine Hakim, which argues that for women erotic capital can be as effective as academic credentials when advancing in business or a career. Folbre sees this concept as overreaching but also says the author is describing what individual women can and do capitalize on to advance themselves. New York Times (Economix blog), 9/19/11. Folbre discusses teacher productivity measures that go beyond standardized tests and test scores. She points to a new book, High-Stakes Reform: The Politics of Educational Accountability by Kathryn McDermott (public policy and education), that calls for performance measurement, but notes the importance of resisting pressure to oversimplify and reach for all-purpose carrot-and-stick combinations. New York Times (Economix blog), 9/12/11. Folbre writes about how green jobs could help boost the U.S. economy. The issue, she says, has become entangled in the partisan debate in Washington. New York Times (Economix blog), 9/5/11. Folbre writes about the need for President Obama to push for a strong program of publicly financed jobs to help lower the national unemployment rate. Out-of-work Americans, she says, are a wasted resource that could be harnessed to boost the lackluster economy if they get back to work.
Arizona Daily Star, 9/26/11 (registration required). Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, says proposed cuts to the Pentagon budget may not have the expected impact on the national unemployment rate. A PERI study indicates that defense spending “is a weak source of job creation,” he says. SouthCoast Today, Wilson County News [Texas], 9/16/11. Op-ed cites Pollin's research that found government spending on school construction and renovation generates the largest number of jobs of any government spending. MarketWatch, 9/11/11. Commenting on the costs of the aftermath of 9/11, Pollin says the cost of security measures diverted money that could have been used to create jobs. Boston Globe, 9/5/11. A columnist writing about how business and labor can work together to create jobs through an infrastructure bank cites Pollin's research that found spending on fixing roads and bridges produces more jobs than tax cuts.
KVUE-TV [Austin, Texas], 9/23/11. Commenting on Texas stopping the practice of giving death row inmates a special last meal before they are executed, Daniel LaChance (political science) notes that it is bizarre that the practice, which dates back to when executions were a public spectacle, has been retained when virtually every other aspect of executions has changed.
Globe and Mail [Canada], 9/23/11; New York Times [Well blog], 9/19/11. Distinguished Professor of Sociology Naomi Gerstel comments on her new report, released by the Council on Contemporary Families, on single people and how they interact with a society that is more focused on marriage. She says singles play a larger role in the community than married people. CNBC.com, Yahoo.com, Washington Business Journal, 9/15/11. Gerstel has released a fact sheet about single and unmarried Americans, a group that includes 99.6 million people or close to half of the U.S. population age 18 or over. This diverse group, she notes, is often ignored in discussions of family issues, especially if they don’t have children.
The Street, 9/21/11. A story on gentrification of urban neighborhoods cites a recent study by Andrew Papachristos (sociology) and graduate students Chris Smith, Mary Scherer and Melissa Fugiero that looks at the relationship between the number of upscale coffee shops and declining crime rates in neighborhoods. The study finds that increasing the number of coffee shops is associated with declining homicide rates but rising crime rates for street robberies in gentrified areas.
MSN Money, Marketwatch.com, WGGB-TV 40, 9/19/11. A paper by SBS Dean Robert Feldman and research associate Mattitiyahu Zimbler says many first-year college students drop out of school because they aren’t prepared to adjust to the academic and social rigors of campus life. The paper, released by the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, offers suggestions on how to reduce the dropout numbers.
Marketplace Index [American Public Media], 9/15/11. Gerald Epstein (economics) says news that a UBS employee may have lost the bank $2 billion through “unauthorized trading” hurts arguments by banks that they are being more prudent with their money and trades since the financial crisis of 2008. Big banks, he points out, are under much pressure to show big profits at a time when the traditional business of making loans has been slowed by the economy.
Associated Press and many major national news outlets, 9/13/11. Sheldon Goldman (political science) says more than 70% of President Obama's federal judicial appointments have been “non-traditional” or not white males. This number far exceeds appointments by two-term presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. “It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement,” Goldman says.
WWLP Channel 22, 9/11/11. David Mednicoff (public policy) was one of two area professors featured on the station's in-depth show regarding the 9/11 anniversary. Springfield Republican, 9/11/11. Mednicoff says the national unity created by the 9/11 attacks shattered during the debate over the Iraq war and concerns that security steps were eroding personal freedoms.
A Word from SBS
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.
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