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SBS Newsletter – September 2011

In this issue

Whitney Battle-BaptisteArchaeologist Focuses on African Diaspora through Race, Gender and Class
“Archaeology is often thought of as ‘exotic’—far away from the everyday, in Egypt or Israel, Greece or Europe,” says assistant professor Whitney Battle-Baptiste (anthropology). “I see African Diaspora archaeology as a vehicle for social justice, a way to make the discipline relevant to those we have traditionally talked about instead of talked to. It’s about interpretation, about how different communities and stakeholders see a given site.” Read more...

Abel OrtizCultural Immersion Satisfies Student Leader
“UMass is a big place, and it’s true you can get lost in the crowd,” says Abel Ortiz ’11 (anthropology/Spanish), who will be graduating after the fall semester. “But as soon as you find that balance between classes and extracurricular activities, that’s when you really love being on campus. It’s great to be at one of the best schools in the United States and still be only two hours from my home in South Boston. It’s enough distance, giving me more space to be independent.” Read more...

Students in the LARP Summer Youth Program in SpringfieldLARP Pilots Summer Youth Program in Springfield
What would you like to do for work someday? It’s a common question asked of young people everywhere, but chances are their answers won’t include responses like architect, landscape architect, or urban planner. One reason for this is that young people as a rule haven’t been introduced to people from these professions, making their knowledge of the concepts behind these professions vague, if not non-existent. Read more...

Amy SchaletStraight Talk About Teen Sex
“For American parents, teenage sex is something to be feared and forbidden, and sex is often a source of family conflict,” says Assistant Professor Amy Schalet (sociology), an expert, author, and media commentator on adolescent sexuality. “In the Netherlands, where teenage pregnancies are far less frequent than in the United States, parents aim above all for family cohesiveness, often permitting couples in their late teens to sleep together and providing them with contraceptives.” Read more...

And other topics of interest...

Jan ServaesServaes Named UNESCO Chair in Communication
Professor Jan E. Servaes (communication), director of the Center for Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC) has been named a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Communication. The position is one of 19 UNESCO chairs in the U.S. and one of only three in communication. Read more...

Amel AhmedWebsite Launched for Upcoming Egyptian Elections
Funded in part by a Healy Endowment Grant, Asst. Prof. Amel Ahmed (political science) has launched It uses Google Earth to visually display electoral data by district in Egypt. "With elections coming up in two months and the electoral system currently being negotiated," Ahmed says, "it was important to get the information out there so that diverse actors could participate in the process." Read more...

wing thing logoSBS Wing Thing Welcomes Students, Raffles iPads
The annual SBS Wing Thing, a welcome-to-campus event for all SBS majors, again was a smashing success. Besides offering good eats—wings, of course, et al—the event offered opportunities to network with other SBS students, undergraduate advisors, faculty, staff, and representatives from various student support offices. Plus, two lucky students each won an iPad2. Read more and view gallery of photos.

Man fixing bicycle wheelBike Share Organizers Recognized
Students involved in launching the campus' new Bike Share program were publicly recognized at the September 17 football game. Congratulations to Amber Hewett '12 (political science), Cameron Kackley '14 (economics), and Claire Hopkins '12 (communication) for helping to provide a service, promoting healthy living, and reducing our impact on the environment!

Man fixing bicycle wheelLights, Camera, Scholarships, Landscaping
Extreme Makeover Home Edition is coming to Springfield - has come and gone, actually - and both the campus and the system have made their mark on the frenetic, high decibel process of making dreams come true. Among those volunteers was a cadre of campus undergrads, advised by Mike Davidsohn (landscape architecture and regional planning). Read more...

UMass AmherstGovernor Appoints New Trustees
Gov. Deval Patrick has appointed seven members to the UMass Board of Trustees, including his former transportation chief, Jeffrey Mullan '85 (environmental design), and Lawrence Carpman '75 (journalism), a Democratic political consultant who is often a spokesman for the state party. Six of the seven are UMass graduates. Read more... For a full listing of trustees, click here (Note: Victor Woolridge '80 [legal studies] is also an SBS alum). Prof. Ralph Whitehead (journalism) has written a profile on Carpman, the first journalism alumnus to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Giant stir-fry panStirring Up a World Record
Armed with a custom-built, one-ton, 14-foot frying pan, Dining Services chefs, led by celebrity chef Jet Tila, cooked up the world’s largest stir-fry of 4,010 pounds of vegetables and chicken. Cooking outside on Haigis Mall on Sept. 5, the culinary team smashed the previous world record of a 2,319-pound stir fry set in 2005. The cooking team used fresh vegetables from a student-run farm, the campus's permaculture garden on campus and local farmers. View news clip...

new student convocationNew Student Convocation Welcomes Class of 2015
UMass Amherst welcomed the record-setting Class of 2015, the largest and most academically qualified class in the school’s history with a full schedule of events, including a new student convocation at the Mullins Center where they heard from top administrators and student leaders. View news clip... Read more... [requires log in]

UMass AmherstUMass Tops for Internship Participation
UMass Amherst is among the top 10 schools in the country for percentage of graduates who participated in internships. According to the U.S. News & World Report Short List, UMass Amherst is the school on the top 10 list with the most graduates in 2010, 4,851 seniors, with 57% having internship experience. Read more...

Rainbow Times logoUMass Amherst Among Top Campuses for LGBT Students
The LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index, an annual national assessment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college life, has recognized UMass Amherst as one of the best campuses in the country for LGBT students. Only 33 colleges and universities achieved this distinction. UMass received the highest possible rating on its policies related to both sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more...

Upcoming Events
Fall is always full of events, ranging from informational sessions to outstanding lectures by distinguished guests and faculty. Following is a brief sampling of SBS related activities, but be sure to bookmark the Events Calendar on the SBS website. There you'll find a listing of upcoming events sponsored by SBS programs and departments. View it by week, by month, or as a listing.

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 19Distinguished 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.

Alumni News
Will McGuinness '10 (journalism/English) has been hired as a digital producer for CBS' Local Digital Media division. He'll use the combined skills and digital operations of CBS' 29 television stations and CBS Radio's 36 news, sports and talk stations to broadcast news, sports and lifestyle stories on CBS' new regional websites.

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
Elizabeth Chilton (anthropology), chair of the department and director of the Center for Heritage and Society, participated in a forum that showcases the work of a variety of different heritage-based
centers, organizations, and projects dedicated to research, education, and preservation of tangible and intangible forms of cultural heritage. Published in Archaeologies, the international journal of the World Archaeological Congress, the full article includes summaries of several international heritage-related centers; Chilton's contribution (beginning on page 433—or page 11 of the pdf) summarizes the Center's efforts.

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
Marketplace [NPR], 9/30/11. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, comments about how, even with the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, same-sex couples are not treated equally because of the federal Defense of Marriage law. Springfield Republican, 9/28/11. Badgett says new census figures that show Massachusetts with the highest percent of married same-sex couples underscores the state’s leadership role in expanding legal rights for same-sex couples.

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. [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.,, 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,, 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
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, Environmental Design, Journalism, Labor Studies, Landscape Architecture, 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.

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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