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STS-Related Speaker Series
.The STS Colloquium Series is not the only way to hear about issues relating to science, technology and society. Please look through the websites of the organizations and centers below to hear about additional lectures and seminars we think you may be interested in attending.

Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing

Center for Public Policy and Administration

Center for Research on Families

Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education

Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative

The Environmental Institute

The IT Program

National Center for Digital Government

National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution

Political Economy Research Institute

Social and Demographic Research Institute














The STS initiative partners with several groups on campus to co-sponsor lectures and seminars. All talks are on the UMass Amherst campus unless noted.

Past Events



October 24, 2011
Beyond the Copyright Wars: Fair Use, Free Speech, and Reframing the Policy Debate
4:30-5:30 pm
10th floor of the Campus Center at UMass Amherst
Patricia Aufderheide, American University communications professor and Director of the Center for Social Media

Copyright has become a terrifying word, as copyright problems have floated into everyone’s daily life. Journalists, bloggers, filmmakers, photographers, librarians, teachers, students and remix artists face daily decisions about how to handle copyrighted material when they use it in their work. Recent research on fair use--the most flexible and ample of exceptions from copyright’s limited monopoly and a free speech right--has reframed the academic and policy discourse around copyright and fair use. Patricia Aufderheide will illustrate this reframing in a discussion of her new book, Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (2011). Aufderheide co-authored the book with Professor Peter Jaszi of the Washington College of Law at American University. Together they head the Fair Use and Free Speech research project at the Center for Social Media.

Aufderheide has been a Fulbright and John Simon Guggenheim fellow and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival, among others. She has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including the Preservation and Scholarship award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association, a career achievement award in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association, and the Woman of Vision Award from Women in Film and Video (DC) in 2010.

Aufderheide serves on the board of directors of Kartemquin Films, a leading independent social documentary production company, and on the editorial boards of a variety of publications, including Communication Law and Policy and In These Times newspaper. She has served on the board of directors of the Independent Television Service, which produces innovative television programming for underserved audiences under the umbrella of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and on the film advisory board of the National Gallery of Art. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota.

This talk will kick off Open Access Week (October 24-28), a series of events relevant to open access journal, open conference proceedings, open educational resources, open data, copyright and author rights hosted by UMass Amherst Libraries.

Fall 2010

December 3, 2010
Cyberpopulism in Venezuela: “Media war” or “radical democracy” online?

12:00 - 1:30, Gordon Hall, 3rd floor Conference Room
Martha Fuentes-Bautista, Assistant Professor of Communication, UMass Amherst
Location Gordon Hall, 3rd floor conference room

Abstract: Most research on political implications of Internet for democracy focuses on how the adoption and use of web tools (i.e. blogs) for political advocacy or e-government contribute to deliberative consensus or polarization in Western liberal democracies. However, as argued by technology and critical media scholars (Cammaerts& Carpentier 2006; Hargittai et al., 2008; Benkler et at, 2010) the critical question from a broader theory of media democracy is how diverse citizens are able to participate and be heard in these spaces. This presentation introduces a larger project that interrogates how social media tools have been used by the state, organized popular actors and citizens in Venezuela, a country that in the last decade has embarked in a democratic but highly contentious transition towards a radical popular democracy. New media initiatives have been part of communication policies that promote the emerging “popular power” and its newly created institutions (Fuentes-Bautista & Gil-Egui, 2010). This project examines the rationale behind, and actual forms of citizen participation enabled by these online projects.

The overall project looks at (1) state and citizens discourses in policy debates between 2009 and 2010 about the potential regulation of social media tools; (2) online communication practices and citizen participation in blogs produced by the populist movement, the state, opposition and alternative groups; and (3) media activists’ understandings about the democratic and participatory affordances of online communications. “Cyber-populism” or the symbolic construction of networked communications as a means to strengthen direct, popular governance and participation is proposed as a framework to understand how the state and the popular movement that supports it negotiate their relationship through these policies and initiatives. Preliminary analysis of policy debates on social media use and regulation reveals the symbolic and discursive production of social media as sites of radical democratic governance, and as a “new front” in Venezuela’s“media wars” for the construction of a new Bolivarian hegemony as alternative to capitalism. In these debates, the state and popular movement actors combine discourses on popular communicational sovereignty, administrative efficiencies and counter-hegemonic conflict to promote e-government applications of social media. I discuss the implications of these findings for the promotion of“centralized modes” of citizen participation, and the increasing fractures of Venezuelan public sphere(s).


Friday, October 15, 2010
Relational Inequality and Common Pool Resource Governance Online
Aaron Shaw, Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Gordon Hall 12:00- 1:00PM

Abstract: In the past twenty years, the Internet has given rise to large networked communities that create and distribute public goods through systems of commons-based production, cooperation, and social exchange. Some well-known examples include Wikipedia, Digg, the SETI@Home distributed computing project; Slashdot; Freecycle; and numerous peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. What kind of role (if any) do institutionalized relations of power and status inequality play in these sorts of online Common-Pool Resource (CPR) production? In this presentation, I argue that institutionalized power inequalities actually drive the production and sharing of informational CPRs. To support this claim, I propose an idealized model of power dynamics in online CPR production rooted in a relational account of inequality. I draw on ethnographic and quantitative data collected from the large, collaborative political blog, Daily Kos ( In the context of Daily Kos, numerous interactions between individual participants on the site reproduce radical inequalities of status and influence, which in turn establish and reproduce the foundations of content production on the site. In this way, specifically relational inequalities drive CPR production through mechanisms such as gatekeeping by site elites, status closure, and the boundary work conducted by site participants. 

Biography: Aaron Shaw is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at UC Berkeley. During the 2010-2011 academic year, he is a Research Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Aaron's current research examines the effects of institutional variation in large-scale collaborative production communities online. In particular, he focuses on relations of power within online communities that create and share informational resources. Aaron has also conducted ethnographic research on political movements to promote access to knowledge in Brazil, a project which he plans to continue as part of a broader analysis of the global governance of informational capitalism.


Friday, October 8, 2010
Ethics Day: Engaging Librarians in the Responsible Conduct of Research

WEB Du Bois Library room 2601 @ 9AM
Registration required. Visit the workshop website for more information.


Thursday, September 30, 2010
Digital Capitalism and the Crisis

A lecture by Dan Schiller, Professor of Library & Information Science and Professor of Communication at UIUC
Campus Center 904-908

Abstract: Massive corporate investment around ICTs developed in response to the economic crisis of the 1970s, in a sustained and multifaceted attempt to kick-start accumulation and raise profitability.  Three basic components of this more encompassing political-economic strategy included financialization, transnationalization, and (re)commodification.  After examining each of these components (the first two briefly), the presentation concludes by asking about the prospect for digital capitalism today, amid a deep and continuing financial and economic crisis: How is geopolitics impinging on information and communications?  May we expect this sector to reprise the role it acquired during the late 20th century, in renewing the accumulation process?

The lecture is supported by the Department of Communication; CSBS Visitor Support Grant; the Office of Faculty Development's Mutual Mentoring Initiative, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Science, Technology and Society (STS) Initiative; Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA); Department of Sociology; Department of Political Science; Department of Economics; the Department of Anthropology;  the Social Thought and Political Economy Program; and UMass Amherst Libraries.


Friday, September 24, 2010
Nanotechnology & Society: Emerging Organizations, Oversight, and Public Policy Systems
The 3rd Nanotechnology and Society Workshop organized by the Science, Technology and Society Initiative and the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing addresses emerging oversight and policymaking systems for regulation and guidance of nanotechnology research, applications, and impacts. Visit the workshop website for more information.


Monday, September 20, 2010
The Digitally Divided: The New Minority and Willful Retreat from the Information Society
Jarice Hanson, Professor of Communication, UMass Amherst
Thompson Hall 620, 12 PM - 1 PM

This talk will investigate the growing movement of people who have chosen to withdraw from using the Internet and cell phones, and the reasons they opt out of the "information society."   The research draws from interviews with the new group of the "unconnected" and examines reasons for their choices on three dimensions; economic principles, social choices, and perceptions of happiness.

This talk is co-organized by the Center for Public Policy & Administration's Faculty Colloquium Series and the National Center for Digital Government.



Spring 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010
Managing Business Commons: Information Infrastructures and Network Actors
M Lynne Markus, Professor of Information and Process Management, Bentley University
Thompson Hall 620, 12:15pm

ABSTRACT: Collaboration and commerce among organizations increasing rely on sophisticated shared information infrastructures that serve as information or document repositories, communication switches, analytic or transaction processing engines, and social networking sites. If widely adopted and used, informational infrastructures can enable institutional change—changes in the rules, processes, and practices involved in the interactions among the members of organizational communities.

Among the relevant prior work, scholars have examined the emergence of technical innovations in organizational communities, the roles of institutional actors in promoting innovation and diffusion, and innovation as the process of creating networks of actors around a proposed change. Less discussed, except in a few domains such as the open source movement and business process standardization, is the community-centered process of creating new formal organizations to coordinate innovation and diffusion. These innovation organizers are distinct legal entities with complex links to the established institutional actors in their communities. They are often collective organizations—member owned and/or governed. Because their activities may combine material production as well as knowledge creation and transfer, their relationships with other community members may involve conflict, and they co-evolve over time with the infrastructures they support.

BIOGRAPHY: M. Lynne Markus is the John W. Poduska, Sr. Professor of Information and Process Management at Bentley University. Professor Markus’s teaching and research interests include enterprise and inter-enterprise systems and IT-enabled organization change. She is the author/editor of five books and over one hundred articles; her research has been supported by numerous government and industry grants. She recently won three best paper awards for her 2006 co-authored article “Industry-wide IS Standardization as Collective Action: The Case of the US Residential Mortgage Industry” and two best paper awards for her 2008 co-authored article “A Foundation for the Study of IT Effects: A New Look at DeSanctis and Poole’s Concepts of Structural Features and Spirit.” She was named Fellow of the Association for Information Systems in 2004 and received the AIS LEO Award for Exceptional Lifetime Achievement in Information Systems in 2008.


Friday, March 5, 2010
EGovernment Development in Russia: Key Success Factors
Evgeny Styrin, School of Public Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Thompson Hall 620, 1:00pm

ABSTRACT: This lecture is devoted to e-government as a social phenomena emerging in all the countries of the world. Dr. Styrin will present a framework for a national e-government system analysis and apply it to Russian realities in public administration and socio-economic and cultural development. He will examine governance, administrative reforms, relations with citizens and society, and innovations that should be performed by each national government as they work to make their countries competitive in the Era of Globalization. E-government is considered to be a tool to an effective change in governance system. Achievements and mistakes in the e-government development process made in Russia can be benchmarked with a row of countries in Europe, Asia and North America (materials of World Bank, UNDP, OECD, authors personal research).

BIOGRAPHY: Evgeny Styrin is a senior lecturer at the School of Public Administration of Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia, where he specializes in research on e-government.  He is also a Fulbright Fellow at the Center for Technology in Government at SUNY Albany.



Fall 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stuart Shulman, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the Qualitative Data Analysis Program
10:00 – 12:00 Measuring Validity and Reliability in Coding
1:00 – 4:00 Introduction to ATLAS.ti &CAT – A hands-on, computer lab-based training.
See for registration; Organized by the Center for Research on Families and co-sponsored by STS and the Qualitative Data Analysis Program


Monday, November 2, 2009
Experimenting with democracy:  results from the study of online townhalls with members of congress

Dr. David Lazar, Associate Professor of Political Science, Northeastern and Director of the Program on Networked Governance (PNG) at Harvard
3:30 pm, Campus Center 917, University of Massachusetts Amherst

ABSTRACT: What is the potential of the Internet to transform the relationship between representatives and citizens?  Here I discuss the results from a series of online townhalls conducted in 2006 and 2008 with members of Congress meeting with randomly selected constituents.  Our results suggest that these townhalls produced thoughtful deliberation that, in turn, had significant impacts on the views and political actions of the participants.

BIOGRAPHY: David Lazer is Associate Professor at Northeastern and Director of the Program on Networked Governance (PNG) at Harvard.  His work focuses on how interconnectedness of people and organizations affects the success and failure of actors and systems.  His work has appeared in a wide variety of top scientific journals, including Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Politics.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Beth Noveck, United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer
12:00 -1:30 pm, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Room TBA

ABSTRACT: On January 21, 2009, President Obama signed the first memorandum of his presidency, the Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Transparency and Open Government. The Memorandum announced the Obama Administration’s commitment to achieving an "unprecedented level of openness in Government." As Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Beth Noveck will discuss the Obama Administration's open government policies and the tenets of transparency, participation and collaboration on which the office operates.

BIOGRAPHY: Beth Simone Noveck is the United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government. She directs the White House Open Government Initiative at Dr. Noveck is the author of Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful (2009) and editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (2006). She is on leave as a professor law and director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and McClatchy visiting professor of communication at Stanford University.


Friday, October 23, 2009

8:00 am-5:00 pm, W.E.B. DuBois Library, 26th floor
Invitation only workshop. The purpose of the meeting is to advance knowledge about the potential and limitations of digital libraries to support sharing knowledge in the domain of ethics in science and engineering.  What digital tools, applications and architectures offer promise to increase not only transmission of information but the quality and depth of institutional development?  How can the cost of search and navigation through voluminous materials be reduced? What social tools and semantic web frameworks might be useful to incorporate into online resource sites? What are the key limitations of digital libraries and how might these be minimized or overcome? 


(Non STS Organized Event of Interest)
Thursday, October 22, 2009

4:15-6:00 PM, Campus Center 905-9
Topics discussed will include online political mobilisation (Jessica Beyer, University of Washington), new
spaces of Islamic law on the Internet (Iza Hussin/Jessica Beyer), and new methodologies for
research and scholarship online (Jane Fountain). Please contact Iza Hussin ( with questions. Organized by the UMass Amherst Dept. of Legal Studies


Thursday, September 24, 2009
Information & Communication Technologies and Digital Government: The Turkish Case

Dr. Turhan Mentes, Secretary General, Hacettepe University, Turkey
4-5 pm, Thompson 620, University of Massachusetts Amherst

ABSTRACT: The technological innovations of the last decades have opened the doors to a new and different world for businesses and governments. As access to the Internet penetrates more populations each day, ICTs continue to shape societies all over the world.  This presentation will explore the development of ICTs and e-government in Turkey.  It will include significant figures and statistics about e-government in Turkey and discuss the social consequences of such developments.

BIOGRAPHY: Turhan Mentes is the Secretary General of Hacettepe University, Turkey and an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics, where he is also chair of the Risk Analysis Program. Dr. Mentes chairs the Internet Committee of Turkey which is within the Ministry of Transportation.  Currently, he is the president of Informatics Association of Turkey, which is the largest NGO active in the field of informatics in Turkey.   



Spring 2009

Thursday, April 16 - Friday, April 17, 2009
YouTube and the 2008 Election Cycle in the United States

University of Massachusetts Amherst
An interdisciplinary conference to look at the use of YouTube in politics.
Visit the conference webpage here.

Download the conference proceedings and watch reactions to the conference on YouTube.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009 2.0, Using the Internet for budget transparency to increase accountability, efficiency and taxpayer confidence
4-5 pm, Thompson 620
Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst for Tax and Budget Policy, U.S. PIRG

Abstract: A growing number of states are using powerful Internet search technology to make budget transparency more accessible than ever before. Legislation and executive orders around the country are lifting the elec­tronic veil on where tax dollars go. At least 18 states currently mandate that citizens be able to access a searchable online database of govern­ment expenditures. These states have come to define “Transparency 2.0”—a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget ac­countability and accessibility. Massachusetts, consistently ranked as a top state for technology industries, should be a natural leader of the Transparency 2.0 movement. But as more and more states upgrade their trans­parency systems, Massachusetts has fallen be­hind the emerging set of best practices. This talk will make the case that in the course of upgrading government IT systems we must seize the opportunity to catch up with a nationwide movement of state and local government to en­hance budget transparency and thereby increase efficiency, accountability, and public trust. The report documents the accelerating trend toward budget Transparency 2.0 in other states. It exam­ines the benefits of this improved transparency, highlighting best practices and offering sugges­tions for how Massachusetts can catch up.

Bio: Dr. Baxandall oversees policy and strategy development for state PIRGs’ tax and budget campaigns throughout the U.S. He comes to the PIRGs from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where he assisted in directing the Taubman Center for State and Local Government as well as the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. In that capacity he assisted the city of Somerville, Massachusetts with performance management and best-practice budgeting, as well as served as a technical advisor for the Massachusetts’ Metropolitan Mayors’ Coalition report on reforming local aid, which was credited for helping to restore local aid funding within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Before coming to the Kennedy School, Baxandall worked for the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, editing their flagship publication, Regional Review. He also taught political economy for several years at Harvard’s undergraduate honors program in Social Studies, where he won six teaching awards. In 1990-91, he taught economics and organizational behavior at the University of Budapest. In Hungary, Baxandall also worked with an American campaign consulting firm to observe focus groups, formulate survey questions, and prepare national strategy for a major political party in Parliament.

He has authored several reports, academic journal articles, or magazine features on a variety of issues in political economy. These include, "Betting on the Future: The Economic Impact of Legalized Gambling," "Cross-Sector Collaboration in Massachusetts," "Sunshine for California: Shining Light On Corporate Tax Secrecy For Healthier State Budgets, Investments and Markets," "Local Service, Local Aid, Common Challenges," "Three Worlds of Working Time: The Partisan and Welfare Politics of Work-Hours in OECD Countries," "Spending #1, Performance #37: How the U.S. Ranks Internationally Using World Health Organization Data," "Good Capital, Bad Capital: Dangers and Development in Digital Diasporas," and a book from Ashgate Press, Constructing Unemployment. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A in Economics from Wesleyan University.


Thursday, March 26, 2009
Are we crying wolf? Lay people may be more willing to share medication information than policy makers expect
4-5:30 pm, Thompson 620
Jenna Marquard, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst

Abstract: Contemporary policies regarding health information technology development, including health information exchanges (HIEs) and personal health records (PHRs), rest on the assumption that lay people care so much about privacy that they are willing to expend the effort to make discrete choices about whether to share specific personal health information with a range of care providers. These assumptions are driven partially by surveys that outline the privacy- and security-related concerns laypeople have regarding sharing their health information electronically. Yet, our empirical investigations reveal something quite different.

We engaged 31 patients recruited from a neurology clinic in a realistic decision scenario in which they were given the option to share (or not) information about each of their medications with three physician-types: a primary care physician, a neurologist, and an emergency room physician. We documented participants’ choices along with their understanding of the potential clinical care benefits and information disclosure concerns associated with their specific medication profile.

Participants almost universally chose to share all of their medication information with each of the three physician-types, most citing the provided clinical care benefits as their main rationale for doing so. Our study also shows, however, that participants unfortunately did not understand as a whole the possible consequences of their choices.

These results are at odds with the common wisdom held by the broader health care delivery and health care information technology communities. While these communities have appropriately recognized laypeople’s privacy- and security-related concerns, current strategies for addressing these concerns – such as those that require laypeople to make discrete choices to electronically share their health information – are not appropriate. The study results also suggest that laypeople exposed to realistic decision scenarios and guided debriefings are likely to reveal their preferences more accurately than when asked to take abstract opinion surveys traditionally used to guide policymaking.


Monday, February 23, 2009
Opportunities in the new administration and the history of starting a national policy non-profit
Campus Center 904-8, 12-1:30 pm
Josh Silver, Executive Director of Free Press

Bio: Josh Silver is the executive director and co-founder of the nonpartisan media policy reform organization Free Press.  Mr. Silver oversees all programs, campaigns, fundraising and special projects. He previously served as campaign manager for the successful statewide ballot initiative for public funding of elections in Arizona and as the director of development for the cultural arm of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He has served as the director of an international youth exchange program and as a development and management consultant. Josh publishes frequently on media, campaign finance and other public policy issues. He attended the University of Grenoble, France, and Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

About Free Press: Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, they promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. See their website for more information:



Fall 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Legislative and Regulatory Developments in Information Security
4-5 p.m. Gunness Student Center Conference Room. Refreshments will be served at 3:45 p.m.
Mark MacCarthy, Adjunct Professor of Communication, Culture and Technology, Georgetown University

Abstract: This talk develops the argument that a role for government regulation of information security is warranted because of significant externalities in this market.  The point is illustrated by an examination of the financial incentives established by the legal structure and private sector practice in the payment card industry. I discuss the range of legislative and regulatory responses to this externality.  At the state level, I describe breach notification laws, cost recovery requirements and specific security mandates, noting the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.  At the federal level, I discuss the actions taken by the Federal Trade Commission, and the legislative approaches developed over the two Congresses.  I address the possibility of changes at the FTC under the new Administration and the likelihood of passage of information security legislation in the new Congress.  Finally, I report on changes in information security rules in other countries, including developments in the European Commission, the UK, Australia and Canada.

Bio: Mark MacCarthy is currently adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Communication, Culture, and Technology Program, where he teaches courses on the economics of network industries and public policy toward network industries. He is also an adjunct member of Georgetown University’s Department of Philosophy where he teaches courses in the political philosophy.  He does research and consults in the areas of information privacy and security, ecommerce and other technology policy issues. He is currently designated as the appointed expert of the American National Standards Institute on the International Organization For Standardization (ISO) Technical Management Board (TMB) Task Force On Privacy.  

From 2000 to 2008, Mark MacCarthy was Senior Vice President for Global Public Policy at Visa Inc.  He was responsible for global government relations strategies and initiatives affecting electronic commerce, technology policy, information security, privacy, risk management, credit, debit and prepaid payment cards and innovative products such as payWave and Visa’s mobile telephone platform. He was also responsible for coordinating working relationships with consumer and privacy groups. He regularly represented Visa before the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Administration, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S federal financial regulators and multi-governmental groups such as the OECD and APEC.  

Mr. MacCarthy has extensive experience in Washington DC public policy making and government affairs.   Prior to joining Visa, Mr. MacCarthy spent six years as a principal and senior director with the Wexler-Walker Group, a Washington government affairs consulting firm, where he worked with a variety of clients on electronic commerce, financial services, privacy and telecommunications.  He was Vice President in charge of Capital Cities/ABC's Washington office from 1988 to 1994, representing the company’s interests before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and other administrative agencies.  From 1981 to 1988, he was a professional staff member on the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he handled communications policy and other issues for the Chairman of the Committee, Representative John D. Dingell, Jr. (D-MI).  From 1978 to 1981, Mr. MacCarthy worked as an economist performing regulatory analyses of safety and health regulations at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Mr. MacCarthy has a Ph.D in philosophy from Indiana University and an MA in economics from the University of Notre Dame.  He has published a number of articles on government regulation and information security.  He has taught introduction to philosophy and political philosophy at Notre Dame and philosophy of economics at Maryland University.

This talk is part of the UMass Security Seminar Series and supported by the National Center for Digital Government.


Monday, November 17, 2008
"Mentoring and Persistence among Lower-Income First Generation College Students in STEM"
Becky Wai-Ling Packard, Associate  Professor of Psychology and Education, Mt Holyoke College.
4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Campus Center 803

Abstract: Increasing the diversity of the STEM workforce has been an issue of national concern for decades. African American and Latino students, from working class families, are significantly underrepresented in science and technical fields, and this is especially the case for female students within computer science and engineering. Over half of first generation, lower-income Latinos and African American students use two-year colleges, or trade colleges, as an entry point to the four-year degree, but so few actually complete these pathways. Thus, research is warranted to better understand the experiences of ethnically diverse working class women and men within these complex pathways. My research, guided broadly by an ecological perspective that highlights the importance of macro-economic factors and multiple contexts (e.g., home, school, and work), has focused on the mentoring experienced by lower-income students as they strive to “get on track” and persist toward a four-year STEM degree. Drawing upon longitudinal survey and interview data with high school students, trade college students, community college, and university students, I have investigated how particular functions of mentoring are associated with STEM persistence. I will describe examples of essential instrumental functions of mentoring and productive mentoring constellations, articulate a need for greater organizational infrastructures for mentoring, and point to implications for designing mentoring interventions, governmental aid for students pursuing higher education, and transfer program designs that link shorter-term certificate and degree programs to four-year degree programs. Presentation slides [pdf]

Bio: Dr. Packard is an expert on mentoring, motivation, and identity. She studies the persistence of women, minorities, and first-generation college students in non-traditional fields such as science and technology fields; how students can maximize their access to mentoring; and how young people from low-income backgrounds, especially urban ethnic minority students, strive to pursue higher education in many forms and participate in science and technology fields. Ultimately, she aims to identify success strategies that support motivation and turn aspirations into realities.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education.


Friday, October 3, 2008
Nanotechnology and Society: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges
10th floor, Lincoln Campus Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst
A workshop on the societal implications of Nanotechnology
click here for more information.

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Spring 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Aging in Place with the ASSIST Environment
Cynthia Jacelon,
Assistant Professor of Nursing, UMass
Allen Hanson,
Professor of Computer Science, UMass
2-3pm, Thompson 620
co-sponsored by the National Center for Digital Government

Abstract: Technologically smart environments have potential to postpone nursing  home placement for frail elders, thereby reducing the burden on the  healthcare system. Informed by focus group data from elders, family  members, and caregivers, we have developed the ASSIST smart  environment that will help vulnerable elders with alterations in  functional and cognitive ability to maintain function in their own  homes. ASSIST addresses six elements of elders’ lives that are  essential for aging in place: communications, health self-management,  task management, safety, finding things, and entertainment. ASSIST is  unique in that an interdisciplinary team of nurse, social, and  computer scientists designed the system. ASSIST has potential to  increase the quality of life of one of the most vulnerable  populations in our society. ASSIST has implications for housing,  healthcare and home-based services. We believe ASSIST can reduce  social isolation, reduce risk of depression, increase safety in the  home, increase cognitive stimulation, improve in self-care, and  enhance the elder’s sense of control while helping the elder stay at  home longer.
presentation slides [PDF, movie clips are not available] Also see the ASSIST project website for more information.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Town Hall Meeting with Sharon Eisner Gillett, Commissioner, MA Department of Telecommunications and Cable
10 am- 12 noon, Campus Center 165-169
Please join us for a town hall style meeting with the Commissioner of the MA Department of Telecommunications and Cable. This is your chance to find out more about internet and broadband access in western Massachusetts and to ask any questions you may have directly to the Commissioner herself. Stay on campus and join us for a lecture at 1:30 pm, too! (see below). Registration is not required for the Town Hall Meeting, but an RSVP is appreciated. Please email to RSVP.

co-sponsored by the National Center for Digital Government
>>Looking for more information about broadband access in MA? See our broadband page.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Equality in Access to the Internet: Broadband in Massachusetts
Sharon Eisner Gillett
, Commissioner, MA Department of Telecommunications and Cable
1:30pm, Thompson 620

Abstract: In this talk Commissioner Gillett will focus on the different roles government plays in achieving universal broadband.  She will relate her public sector experience to her academic understanding of this issue by reflecting on her 2006 paper on municipal wireless broadband through the lenses of her experience as a member of Boston’s wireless task force, and her first year of service as the Commonwealth’s Telecommunications and Cable Commissioner.

Bio: Sharon E. Gillett was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick in the spring of 2007 to head the Department of Telecommunications and Cable.  Prior to serving in state government, Commissioner Gillett was a Principal Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she chaired the Broadband Working Group of MIT’s Communications Futures Program and taught courses on telecommunications and Internet policy. She also conducted research on municipal broadband and its economic impact and served on Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s Wireless Broadband Task Force.  Commissioner Gillett received her MBA and MS in Technology and Policy from MIT and her AB in Physics from Harvard University.

co-sponsored by the National Center for Digital Government
>>Looking for more information about broadband access in MA? See our broadband page.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008
BLACK HOUSTON: Digital Storytelling
Carroll Parrot Blue,
scholar and filmmaker
7:30pm, Isenberg School of Management 137, UMass Amherst
Organized by the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies and co-sponsored by the UMass Amherst Center for Public Policy & Administration and the Science, Technology & Society Initiative. For more information, please visit the Film program's website.
Absract: BLACK HOUSTON: Digital Storytelling Scholar and filmmaker Carroll Parrott Blue will show works from the New Dawn Project, her nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering social change through digital narrative, experimental memoir, and community-based websites, including: The Past, Present & Future of Houston’s Third Ward, a multi-authored community development story from 1840 to 2012; The Emancipation Project; and The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Nanoethics:  Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology
James Moor
, Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth College
4:45pm - 6:15pm, Conte Research Center, Room A110-111 (*NOTE THE LOCATION CHANGE)

Abstract: This talk examines the nature of nanoethics and offers a justification for having this new area of research. Some of the hot issues are discussed as well as some suggestions about how to deal with nanotechnological risk.

Bio: James Moor is a Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College as well as an adjunct professor with The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (Australian National University). He is well-published in the fields of computer ethics, philosophy of artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science as well as logic.  His books include Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology (MIT Press, 2007), The Logic Book (McGraw-Hill, 2004), The Turing Test: The Elusive Standard of Artificial Intelligence (Kluwer Academic, 2003), Cyberphilosophy: The Intersection of Computing and Philosophy (Basil Blackwell, 2002), and The Digital Phoenix: How Computers Are Changing Philosophy (Basil Blackwell, 1998). He is an editor of the new journal NanoEthics: Ethics for Technologies that Converge at the Nanoscale as well as Minds and Machines, and he serves on the editorial board for Ethics and Information Technology and Information, Communication & Ethics in Society.  Dr. Moor is currently president of the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology (INSEIT) and also affiliated with a number of other professional organizations such as Society for Machines and Mentality, APA Committee on Philosophy and Computers, and many others.
Organized by the IGERT Program in Nanotechnology Innovation.


Monday, March 31, 2008
Nanotechnology and Environmental Ethics
Ron Sandler, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Northeastern University
12-1:30, Thompson 620
Ronald Sandler is an assistant professor of philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, a researcher in the Nanotechnology and Society Research Group, and a research associate in the Environmental Justice Research Collaborative at Northeastern University. His primary areas of research are environmental ethics, ethics and technology, ethical theory, and Spinoza. He is author of Character and Environment (Columbia University Press) and co-editor of Environmental Justice and Environmentalism: The Social Justice Challenge to the Environmental Movement (MIT Press) and Environmental Virtue Ethics (Rowman and Littlefield).

Abstract: The challenges associated with proactive responsible development of emerging nanotechnologies are substantial. Given that nanoscale science and technology are not yet mature and their impacts uncertain, it often is difficult even to identify what the issues are. One way to approach this difficulty is by applying critical perspectives developed in response to previous emerging technologies to nanotechnology. This talk employs several such perspectives from environmental ethics to help to identify and illuminate the social and ethical dimensions of emerging nanotechnologies.
View Ron Sandler's presentation slides here. [PDF]


Thursday, February 7, 2008
The Economic Impact of Nanotechnological Development

Bill Gibson, John Converse Professor of Economics, University of Vermont, and Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
4:30pm, Conte A110-111
Sponsored by the IGERT Program in Nanotechnology; part of the Nanotechnology From Lab To Product seminar series
Abstract: How does the development of nanotechnology affect the growth rate of the economy generally? How do economists think about the role of technological innovation in the growth process, of which nanotech is currently one of the most promising components? What does economics as a social science discipline have to say about the proper role of government in the regulation and promotion of innovation? How do patents spur technical change and can they become a barrier? Is the patent system broken and how should it be reformed? What is the role of prizes and competitions? Has the Bayh-Dole Act (1980) accelerated technological change or has it been counterproductive? These and other issues will be discussed by Gibson in the context of the recent trends in the economic impact of nanotechnology.

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Fall 2007

Mind the Gap: Women and Technology Career Summit
September 27, 2007, 10am-4pm
Campus Center Auditorium
The purpose of the summit is to encourage women to pursue careers in information technology fields. We will showcase professional women with careers related to technology throughout the day.  Registration is required and lunch is provided. Register here: Please join us for all or some of this FREE event.  Attendees will also be registered to win free gifts! Sponsored by the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education
PDF flyer

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Spring 2007

Thursday, March 8, 2007
Policy Options for Renewable Energy Incentives: the view from Europe
James Manwell, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UMass Amherst; Director, Renewable Energy Research Laboratory
4:00 PM, Thompson Hall Room 620
Part of the STS Partners Speakers Forum
Dr. Manwell will provide an overview of the main policy options used in Europe to accelerate the implementation of Renewable Energy over the past several years. The chief underlying differences of the two main policy approaches, fixed price vs. fixed quota models, will be described and discussed. Special attention will be paid to the German model, which is based on feed-in tariffs and comprehensive zoning laws.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Motherhood:  The Elephant in the Laboratory    
Dr. Emily Monosson, toxicologist
Noon, Thompson Hall Room 620
Part of the STS Partners Speakers Forum
Motherhood: The Elephant in the Laboratory is an informative and engaging book for women scientists and career women at all stages of their careers who are balancing career and family or who are contemplating parenthood. The aim of this book is to initiate a national discussion about science, work, and motherhood, by highlighting the unique accomplishments and challenges of women, as scientists and as mothers, with the ultimate goal of redefining the concept of “career” scientist.


Thursday, April 12, 2007
Digital Government
and the Role of the CIO
Norman J. Jacknis, Chief Information Officer, Westchester County NY
Noon, Computer Science Building Room 151
Sponsored by the National Center for Digital Government. Part of the STS Partners Speakers Forum
In this talk, Dr. Jacknis will describe Westchester County government's effort to utilize the World Wide Web in order to reach out to various constituents. His formal presentation will describe recent digital government initiatives in the fields of public safety, emergency management, public health, education, public recreation, and economic development. He will discuss how the web has been used to promote efficient and fair markets, to coordinate between public and non-profit agencies, and to enhance citizen-county communication related to government decision-making processes. Dr. Jacknis will also discuss and entertain questions related to the role of a CIO at his level of government and the policy and management implications of web and other new digital technologies.


 Monday, April 9, 2007
Waters:  Sustainable Waters in a Changing World:  Research to Practice
 Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center
 4th Annual Conference
 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM,  Lincoln Campus Center, First Floor
Registration required. See this website for more information.


Thursday, April 26, 2007
Eco-Informatics and Water Resources Management in South Africa
Craig Nicolson, Natural Resources Conservation
4:00 PM, W.E.B. Du Bois Library Learning Commons *CANCELLED*
Sponsored by the IT Program and the National Center for Digital Government


Thursday, May 17, 2007
and Society:  the Organization and Policy of Innovation
1st Annual Conference
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Lincoln Campus Center, First Floor
Registration required. Sponsored by the STS Initiative.
See the workshop homepage for more information.

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Fall 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Nanotechnology and Regulation: Government Capacity
Christopher J. Bosso, Northeastern University
4:30 PM, Conte National Center for Polymer Research
Guest lecture in the Nanotechnology From Lab To Product seminar series (PSE 590A)
The nanotech sector is pushing aggressively with research and innovation, but it is not clear how federal or even state regulators are going to handle any new nanotech products, applications, or side effects. “No regulation is necessary” may be a typical viewpoint within the industry, but is not a likely option if over a century of experience with previous scientific and technological breakthroughs (e.g., inorganic pesticides, genetically modified organisms) is any indication. This talk provides an overview of some of the issues likely to confront state and federal governments as nanotechnology moves from the laboratory to commercial application.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Funding Opportunities
for Social Scientists at the National Institutes of Health
Jeffery Evans, Director of Intergenerational Research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
4:00 PM, Thompson Hall  620
Part of the STS Partners Speakers Forum; co-sponsored with the Social and Demographic Research Institute (SADRI) and the Center for Research on Families (CERF).


Thursday, October 26, 2006
Interdisciplinarity While Chasing Tornadoes
 David McLaughlin, Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere
 4:00 PM, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, Lower Level
Sponsored by the IT Program and the National Center for Digital Government. Part of the STS Partners Speaker Forum
Part technical, part human interest, this talk addresses the challenges, the pleasures, and the opportunities inherent in a cross-disciplinary systems-level research environment that address an important national need and provides an exciting and fertile learning environment for tomorrow’s science and engineering students.


Thursday, November 30, 2006
Using Internet Tools to Foster Cooperative Forest Management
David B. Kittredge, Jr., Charles M. Schweik, Jennifer Fish, and Alexander Stepanov
4:00 PM, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, Lower Level
Sponsored by the IT Program and the National Center for Digital Government
Part of the STS Partners Speaker Forum
ACORN (A CoOperative Resource Network) is an interactive website designed for landowners and others interested in forests in the West and Deerfield River Watersheds in Southern Vermont. This talk will discuss the development of an interactive website to inspire private landowners who have not adopted traditional approaches to forestry assistance and touch on possibilities for cross-boundary cooperation.


Thursday, December 7, 2006
Vision for Next Generation Cyberinfrastructure:  Blackstone River Model

Paula Rees and David Reckhow, Civil and Environmental Engineering
4:00 PM, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, Lower Level
Sponsored by the IT Program and the National Center for Digital Government
Part of the STS Partners Speaker Forum
CLEANER (Collaborative Large-Scale Engineering Analysis Network for Environmental Research), is an NSF project for a novel cyberinfrastructure that facilitates cooperation amongst multi-disciplinarian study of the environment's adaptive response to human activities. One of CLEANER's goals will be to integrate individual models and associated data to create more complex systems that will provide near real-time simulation.  The CLEANER project centers on the Blackstone River Watershed, an approximately 454 square mile basin cutting through central Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island.

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Spring 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006
Public Accountability in the Information Age

Albert Meijer, Visiting Faculty, National Center for Digital Government; Professor, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
Noon, Thompson Hall Room 620
Sponsored by the National Center for Digital Government


Monday, May 1, 2006
Public Policy Issues in the Deployment of Municipal Wireless in the US

Mari Paredes, Assistant Professor of Communication
Noon, Thompson Hall Room 620
Sponsored by the National Center for Digital Government
This talk has been *POSTPONED*    



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