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In his "first incarnation" as dean, says political scientist Glen Gordon, he "never went anywhere to see anybody" as part of the university's development efforts. That's one change. Another, says this old administrative hand - gordon was dean of social and behavioral sciences from 1984 to 1990, ; provost, or chief academic officer of the university, for three years; then returned to the deanship in 1995 - is that now he's head of a full-fledged college, and consequently of an effort to "sort out what the college should do and be."Gordon is an amiable and engaging fellow with a certain stage presence, not to mention Mikado eyebrows, which we're pretty sure you'd notice even were his office not hung with posters from productions of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. As a longtime Valley Light Opera chorister and accompanist, he's participated in many such productions himself, and he falls easily into musical metaphors. Speaking of the pressure of enrollment figures and student/teacher ratios second to none on campus, he will shake his head and say, "First you put food on the table, then you say shall we go to the opera?" Yet in his role as dean, Gordon thinks about both bread and arias all the time.
Formerly a sector of the vast "College of Arts and Sciences," the social sciences faculty became a college unto itself in 1993. Humanities and fine arts (the bailiwick of Dean Lee Edwards) and natural sciences and mathematics (Dean Linda Slakey's domain) are separate colleges now as well. This structural independence focuses a faculty's energies and interactions, administrators say. Counter pointing that independence is the appearance, at least, of increasing cooperation among the deans. A "Deans' Council" of the heads of schools and colleges meets regularly, and all nine recently traveled to California with Chancellor David Scott to meet West Coast alumni.
Gordon suggests several reasons for this concord. One is the influence of the present provost (Patricia Crosson) who has, he says, "a more open style than the former one" (himself). Another is the frame of mind into which Campaign UMass has thrust virtually everyone so far recruited into it, which certainly includes the academic deans. A decade ago you might have heard grumbling from academics expected to fund-raise. You don't hear that from Gordon, who raised the issue on his own in this interview.
This can-do attitude has come about partly because the needs are so obvious, nowhere more so than in a dean's office where so many departmental bucks stop. And it's also come about because the campaign is not just a "capital" but a "comprehensive" one aimed at strengthening the alumni base as well as raising dollars. "It's not just a question of hitting people up for money," Gordon says. "It's hooking up with them again, which is not only terrific for my spirits one of the joys of being a teacher is celebrating the successes of your students but also terrific for our undergraduates."
He mentions the example of Tara Igoe '90, a success story in the health management field whom he met on his recent trip to California. Igoe offered not only to arrange internships for UMass students in Los Angeles but "to take care of them while they're there." That's the kind of connection money can't buy, and that UMass needs increasingly to create.
Gordon's meeting with Igoe, a communications major at UMass, also exemplifies the feedback he and the other deans are getting on how to improve the curriculum at UMass. "She told me that, reflecting back on her education, she feels she could have benefited from more hands-on experience," Gordon says. "That's a general feeling I've gotten from a lot of people."
This feedback affirms SBA's increased emphasis on "group work, team work, project-oriented work," and of course, internships. It also affirms his feeling that the creation of a college is an occasion for reflection. "Sorting out what the college should be and do" means, in part, sorting out what social science majors should know.
Knowledge gained through direct experience is essential, says Gordon. So is an international perspective; SBA pushes hard for study abroad, foreign-language study, and course work engaging other cultures and nations. A third "knowledge" is the call to service which, perhaps surprisingly, has not
always been an integral part of academic social science.
"There's always been a sense that the professional schools nursing, engineering, and so on should be out there serving society," says Gordon. "But we in the arts and sciences were somehow too pure to be expected to delve into what became social and political questions." The distinction doesn't wash any more, he says, especially in a land-grant university founded precisely to serve society.
"This fits right in with the Chancellor's plan," Gordon adds, saying he finds "the 'land-grant/AAU' idea" a "good combination of stresses." He refers to Chancellor Scott's goals of "reinventing" the land-grant idea at UMass and gaining UMass's admission to the American Association of Universities, a high-profile group of research campuses. "Now," says the dean, "I have to pitch it to my people."
Outreach for Rights
The caseloads alone would motivate Jerrold Levinsky '82G to welcome the assistance of six eager young lawyers-to-be in the packed quarters of the MCAD (Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) in the old state office building on Dwight Street in Springfield. Of these particular lawyers-to-be, Levinsky, the commission's deputy general counsel, says that "It's an absolute honor and privilege to work with these young people, to have their energy, their insights, their joie de vivre in the office."
The earnest, enghusiastic, gry-banged Levinsky, who has a master's in labor relations from UMass, speaks not only as a grateful public servant but as a proud professor, one who's very pleased indeed at how a particular class is shaping up. The Anti-Discrimination Project being piloted this year at the MCAD is more than a traditional agency internship for the students involved. It's the "clinical" phase of a three-semester course for legal studies upperclassmen - and, as such, completely imbedded in their classwork.
Over the years I've seen hundreds of internship situations," says Levinsky. "And I've had problems with them. They're less likely than they should be to give students the opportunity to fully explore a professional situation, and also to see a relationship between the work experience and their academic work." Putting two and two together the smothering workloads at MCAD, which average 500-700 cases per staff member, and the needs of pre-law students for substantial experience Levinsky wrote a proposal to legal studies professors Stephen Arons and Janet Rifkin that developed into the present three-semester course and pilot project.
Last fall, some forty students took the first course, taught by Levinsky, in the history of U.S civil rights law. This spring, six of the forty have signed on for the clinical phase: a full-time internship paired with a course on anti-discrimination law, both under Levinsky's supervision. Next fall, these six will be part of a seminar taught by Arons and Rifkin exploring alternative methods of conflict resolution.
Levinsky would like to see the program grow, not only to include more students but to offer financial support for some to remain at the MCAD during the summer. An ardent progressive who set up a civil rights litigation clinic at another of his alma maters, Western New England School of Law, Levinsky envisions a UMass/MCAD partnership creating a "laboratory" for civil rights law reminiscent of the one created by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP lawyers at Howard University in the '50s.
This vision, even in its present embryonic form of six enthusiastic students working their heads off on starter-caseloads of fifty to sixty each, is a perfect match to Dean Glen Gordon's ideal of knowledge gained through experience and shared through service. Says Arons, "It's a model of the way two institutions can work together to benefit both."
Note: A web-site for the project is under construction at www.umass.edu/legal/civilrights/
Sargent Lecture, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, James Douglas, chemical engineering.
Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, James Edzwald, civil and environmental engineering.
NSF Career Award, Robert Gao, mechanical and industrial engineering.
Fulbright Grant (India), Francis Hill, Jr., electrical and computer engineering.
NSF Career Award, Ramesh Karri, electrical and computer engineering.
Best Paper Award, Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, Israel Koren, electrical and computer engineering, and Venkat K.R. Chiluvuri Ph.D. '95.
$498,000 DOE grant, Stephen Malkin and Robert Gao, mechanical and industrial engineering.
Member, National Academy of Engineering, Robert McIntosh, electrical and computer engineering.
Honorable Mention, Progressive Architecture/Architecture Design and Research Competiton, James MacGregor Smith, mechanical and industrial engineering and Martha Blakey Smith, facilities planning.
FOOD & NATURAL RESOURCES
IDEA (Interactive Distance Education and Access) Fellows: Gary Couch, extension; Mildred Gedrites, extension; Joseph Jerry, veterinary and animal science; Robert Mott, extension; Robert Wick, microbiology.
Editor-in-Chief, Wiley Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology, F. J. Francis, food science emeritus.
$300,000 in World Bank funding, Danube Delta Biosphere project, Curtice Griffin, forestry and wildlife management.
Continued Excellence Award, National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Martha Hedlund, extension.
HUMANITIES & FINE ARTS
Main Prize, International Electroacoustic Music Competition, Society for Electroacoustic Music of the Czech and Slovak Republics, Charles Bestor, music.
Fulbright teaching scholarship (Ireland), Kevin Boyle, history.
National Book Critics Circle Award nomination for Imagine the Angels of Bread, Martín Espada, English.
Board of Directors, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Bruce Laurie, history. Book of the Month Club alternate selection, Quality Paperback Book Club editor's choice, Imagining Robert: My Brother, Madness, and Survival; Jay Neugeboren, English.
History Book of the Month Club main selection, The Approaching Fury: Voices of the Storm, 1820-1861, Stephen Oates, history.
Commonwealth Award, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Frederick Tillis, music.
NATURAL SCIENCES & MATHEMATICS
$300,000 NSF grant, Scott Auerbach,
$220,000 NSF grant, Elizabeth Connor,
Honorary designation of "haggertyite," Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names, Stephen Haggerty, geosciences.
$627,000 NSF grant, $102,000 USDA grant; Peter Hepler, biology.
Corresponding Member, Croation Academy
of Sciences and Arts, Frank Karasz, polymer science.
Fellow, Institute of Electric and Electronics
Engineers, James Kurose, computer science.
$312,000 NIH grant, John Nambu and Larry Schwartz, biology.
$150,000 NSF grant, Franz Pedit, mathematics and statistics.
Fellow, Institute of Electric and Electronics
Engineers, Arnold Rosenberg, computer
Young Investigator Award, American Chemical Society, Connecticut Valley Section, Vincent Rotello, chemistry.
$447,200 and $446,900 NIH grants, Thomas Zoeller, biology.
PUBLIC HEALTH & HEALTH SCIENCES
$256,000 American Cancer Society grant, Michael Begay, community health studies.
NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, Priscilla Clarkson, exercise science.
Certificate of Service, American Cancer Society, Jerry Davoli, community health studies.
IDEA (Interactive Distance Education and Access) Fellow, Karen Helfer, communication disorders.
Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine, Stella Volpe, nutrition.
SOCIAL & BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
Fulbright Award (Argentina), Michael Morgan, communication.