UMass Amherst Announces Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts has announced its 2000-01 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series. All lectures are at 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall, and are free and open to the public.

The participants in this year''s series and the dates of their lectures are:

* Sonia Nieto, professor of education, Tues. Oct. 17;

* James Boyce, professor of economics, Tues. Dec. 5;

* John Mullin, professor of urban planning, Tues. March 6;

* Jose Mestre, professor of physics, Tues. April 10.

A reception follows each talk. All faculty members in the series receive a Chancellor''s Medal following their lectures. The Chancellor''s Medal is the highest honor bestowed on individuals for exemplary and extraordinary service to the University.

Faculty Profiles

Sonia Nieto joined the University faculty in 1980 and is currently a professor in the School of Education, where she teaches courses in language, literacy, and culture. Nieto''s research focuses on multicultural education, the education of Latinos, and Puerto Rican children''s literature. From 1989-92, she was director of the cultural diversity and curriculum reform program in the School of Education. She has written numerous book chapters and journal articles, and her books include "The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities," and "Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education." She has served on many advisory boards that focus on educational equity and social justice. Her numerous awards include an Annenberg Institute Senior Fellowship in Urban Education, 1998-00, an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Lesley University last May, and the 1998 New England Educator of the Year Award (Region One), from the National Association for Multicultural Education. Last summer, Nieto was awarded a residency at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy. She received her Ed.D. from UMass in 1979, and earned her master''s and bachelor''s degrees from New York and St. John''s universities, respectively.

James Boyce is an expert on development economics and also teaches and writes in the field of environmental economics. Much of his work has focused on Central America, the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh. A professor in the department of economics, he joined the faculty at UMass in 1983 and served as department chair from 1994-97. In 1999, the Ford Foundation awarded a major grant to the University''s Political Economy Research Institute in support of a 14-month project directed by Boyce titled, "Natural Assets: Democratizing Environmental Ownership," and exploring the impact of natural-asset building on poverty, environmental protection, and environmental justice. In 1997-98, he was a visiting fellow for the International Development Center, at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, and from 1992-93, Boyce was a Fulbright scholar in Costa Rica. He has published extensively in his field, and has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Program, Resident Mission, San Salvador, and consultant for the Development Center of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris. Boyce received his bachelor''s degree from Yale University and his master''s and doctorate degrees from Oxford University.

John Mullin is professor of urban planning in the department of landscape architecture and regional planning at UMass, and director of the University''s Center for Economic Development. He has been a member of the faculty since 1978. Mullin specializes in economic development, industrial planning, and market analysis, and has consulted on projects throughout New England, and in Pennsylvania and New York. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and has held many posts in service to the planning profession. Mullin has co-authored two books: "Business Attraction and Retention Strategies," and "Massachusetts Cities and Towns," and he has written numerous journal articles, book chapters, and other publications. Mullin received the campus''s Distinguished Outreach Award last spring, and, for his assistance with economic development planning to cities and towns in Massachusetts, he has been chosen to receive a President''s Public Service Award, to be presented next month by University President William Bulger. Mullin is also a brigadier general (designate) in the Army National Guard.

Jose Mestre specializes in designing and teaching courses that develop problem-solving skills. He focuses his research on cognitive processes and the use of technology in learning science and mathematics, and the role of language in problem-solving. Mestre received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University and joined the physics faculty in 1981, having previously been a research associate and acting director of the Minority Engineering Program. Last year, Mestre was part of a 15-member panel, named by the National Research Council, that spent two years synthesizing research on how people learn. The panel released its findings in a book, "How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School." Mestre has served on numerous other national boards and committees aimed at improving math and science education. He is widely published, and his research has been extensively funded by the National Science Foundation.