Public education

Protect Our Breasts

Protect Our Breasts is a national student-based/experiential learning organization that shares about environmental toxins that contribute to breast cancer. A team of students from different academic specialties come together to research and share the scientific discoveries and safer alternatives to everyday toxins. Protect Our Breasts hosts a variety of events through chapters on different campuses (including UMass/Amherst) throughout the academic year.

Learning for Life

The Center for International Education in coalition with the International Rescue Committee and seven other local NGOs, implemented the Learning for Life project. The goal was to improve the literacy and mathematical skills of women while increasing knowledge about health related concerns in 12 provinces in Afghanistan. Due to the lack of access, this innovative and instructional program helped provide women with basic education to become eligible for training in health professions. Learning centers allowed women to attend classes and use non-formal, gender-sensitive pedagogies.

Climate System Research Center

Climate System Research Center focuses on the climate system, climatic variability and global change issues. Issues span from contemporary climate variations to paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental changes. The center brings together graduate students, post-docs, research scientists and University faculty who are interested in the variability of the climate system in time and space. Faculty are working in more than 24 countries with studies ranging from ancient lake sediments in Siberia to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Center for Women and Community

The Everywoman’s Center changed its name to The Center for Women and Community in September of 2012. CWC supports and encourages women and is a nationally recognized leader in achieving gender equity. The center offers services to people of all genders throughout the campus and the greater community. These services include information, referral, counseling, training, support groups and education in many areas. Individual counseling, crisis intervention and rape crisis services are offered for Hampshire County, the Five Colleges and UMass Amherst.

STEM Diversity Institute

The STEM Diversity Institute works to promote a nurturing environment and sustainable academic & research excellence. SDI provides programs to increase, retain and advance under-represented minorities, particularly women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce. SDI provides research experience opportunities and workshops to serve undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty.

The Inter-American Network for Integration, Research and Development in Higher Education

The Inter-American Network for Integration, Research and Development in Higher Education focuses on improving quality, access, equity and development of education in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. The College of Education at UMass Amherst is collaborating with University of Missouri and Universidad de los Andes in Colombia to be the first multinational association that will promote regional and global partnerships and improve the integration of policy and practice across tertiary institutions.

Agricultural Learning Center

In 2013, UMass started the Agricultural Learning Center (“ALC”) as a hands-on living “classroom” or field laboratory for undergraduates, graduate students and residents of Massachusetts to pursue active learning about all forms of agriculture. The ALC will provide experiential learning opportunities in a wide variety of farming, horticultural, nursery and landscape industries. With small areas devoted to livestock, fruits, vegetables, turf, and landscape crops, the ALC will offer a broad array of agricultural topics to both UMass students and the general public.

Fish & Fisheries Public Seminar Series in Gloucester

A series of four seminars organized by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Large Pelagics Research Center at Hodgkins Cove (LPRC) will begin on April 3rd, 2014 at 7 p.m.at Maritime Gloucester. The LPRC is notable for its international research and partnership with fisherman on the study of giant Bluefin tuna, leatherback turtles and other open-ocean wandering species, or pelagics. Four expert speakers will discuss topics based on the latest research of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, fisheries and food webs, ocean ecology and right whale conservation.

The Adult Transitions Longitudinal Study

The Adult Transitions Longitudinal Study (ATLAS) is a research project documenting the educational outcomes for adult basic education students who participated in an ABE- to- College Transition project (an adult literacy program for graduates to prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education). The project studied a group of 225 adult students to discover whether they enrolled, persisted and succeeded in post-secondary education following completion of a 15-week transition course.

CIE and IGH at UMass work with Kabul Medical University

The Academy for Education Development in consortium with three U.S universities will work through the Higher Education Project to strengthen The Kabul Medical University in Afghanistan. UMass Amherst's participation is being led by its Center for International Education and the Institute for Global Health to work in partnership with Kabul Medical University, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Public Health. Their goal is to create a new School of Public Health and designing a new Masters in Public Health.

Futurescape City Tours

Futurescape City Tours is a national public engagement project that enables citizens to explore how new technologies are changing their cities. Springfield, MA, was one of six participating cities in 2013. In addition to UMass/CPPA, partners included the Center for Nanotechnology and Society at Arizona State University, the Loka Institute, the Springfield Science Museum, Putnam Technical High School, the UMass Design Center, and U.S Congressman Richard Neal’s office, among others.

Massachusetts Native American Trail Project

Native American Trail project is a collaborative effort to develop a website of maps of/for/by multiple Native American communities, where each community will share with the public their historical and contemporary cultural heritage. The Commission of Indian Affairs and the University of Massachusetts Amherst will work directly with Native American communities to develop the content and technology for each group. Each Native American community will be responsible for decisions concerning the content and presentation of the content on their site/link.

Innovate to Mitigate: A Crowdsourced Carbon Challenge

"Innovate to Mitigate: A Crowdsourced Carbon Challenge"-- directed by Dr. Gilly Puttick of TERC, a non-profit educational organization-- is a crowdsourced open innovation challenge for high school students to come up with creative solutions for mitigation of climate change. Crowdsourcing promises a novel approach to engaging students in science while addressing a significant societal challenge. Dr. Leschine’s role is to serve as an adviser, assist in the design of the challenge, and select resources that will be necessary to support the work of high school student participants.

Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP)

This research provides design/build services to a village in North India, where, due to chronic drought caused by climate change, an entire community is moving to a new site. Faculty work with villagers through community design charettes to help envision this process and plan with digital tools. In addition to drafting master plan documentation and various community land infrastructure, locals are engaged to construct new prototypes on the community space in the new village.

Holyoke/ Chicopee Community Shannon Safety Initaitive

This project examines prevention and intervention strategies to prevent youth violence and gang involvement. Dr. Krezmien, the project's research partner, has developed a unique community-based research site and coordinates activities to ensure that programming is driven by empirical evidence. He is currently working on a risk assessment study that will examine the individual, familial, and community-based factors associated with risk for violence, substance abuse. and gang involvement.

The Outsmart Invasive Species Project

The goal of the Outsmart Invasive Species Project is to strengthen ongoing invasive-species monitoring efforts in Massachusetts by enlisting help from citizens. Using web- and smartphone-based approaches, volunteers identify and collect data on invasive species in their own time, with little or no hands-on training. Because increasing numbers of people are equipped with smartphone technology, this approach will expand the scope of invasive-species monitoring, and is an effort to help control outbreaks of new or emergent invasive species that threaten our environment.

Center for Educational Assessment

The Center for Educational Assessment provides technical expertise in areas such as test development, item response theory applications, equating, standard setting, test selection and evaluation, and program evaluation. The Center is a valuable resource for educational policy makers and others who use tests to make important decisions regarding individuals, organizations or institutions.

Leadership and Teacher Development

The Leadership and Teacher Development project is a comprehensive teacher education reform in the Middle East’s West Bank and Gaza. The project aims to improve classroom instruction, policies within the Ministry of Education departments and enhance pre-service teacher education. The Center for International Education (CIE) was awarded a $1 million from AMIDEAST, with USAID West Bank & Gaza funding to help implement enhancement and assessment programs such as the Teacher Education Enhancement Program and Teacher Performance Assessment System.

Higher Education Project

The Higher Education Project (HEP) is part of a long term program undertaking the challenge of building and strengthening the national quality system of higher education throughout Afghanistan. With the USAIDs’ support and managed by the UMass Center for International Education (CIE), HEP has been able to implement solutions to rehabilitate and develop Afghanistan’s education system.

The Sunwheel Project

The long-running Sunwheel Project involves the construction of sun wheels all over the world starting at UMass Amherst. The project brings a greater awareness and understanding of astronomy to school children, University community members and the general public. In Amherst, the sunwheel - located south of the football stadium - is a gathering spot for people to visit and learn about the sky together through regular public gatherings posted on the website (and usually timed with the equinox and solstice events).

Resource Economics Practicum: Food Bank of Western MA

In this service-learning class, students did work to evaluate the adequacy of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits in Western MA in cooperation with the Food Bank of Western MA. They found that the current formula used by SNAP to determine the benefits of participants needs to be updated to capture the experience of people living in Western MA—particularly to reflect food and housing costs that are higher than the national average.

Field School in Heritage Archaeology

The field school recently partnered with the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site, an organization in Great Barrington supporting the development of a community wide plan to celebrate the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, with the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s project to present the African American history of Franklin County, and with the Pan African History Museum USA of Springfield a community based museum that presents the African American history of the Springfield area. In the past we have also worked with Historic Deerfield, Inc., a regional museum of New England history.

Archaeology, Heritage, and Conservation in Akko, Israel

This project combines excavation, conservation, heritage studies, and community engagement at the site of Akko, Israel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The project is a run by faculty from Penn State, UMass Amherst, Trinity College, and the University of Haifa. Students learn archaeological excavation and survey methods on the remains of a site that has been inhabited for more than 5000 years. They experience the role played by the distant past in today's political and cultural discourses, and work with stakeholders from communities in Akko to determine the future of the past at the site.

Heritage Assessment and Community Development, Eleuthera, Bahamas

The Center for Heritage & Society has initiated a partnership with a community development organization on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas (oneeleuthera.org). We have conducted a pilot research project (Historic Building Survey) in Governor's Harbor, and we have developed a community engagement web portal for use by our partners. Finally, we are now in the development phase of an archaeological survey and excavation project in Millars on the site of a former plantation in collaboration with the descendent community.