The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Why Public Engagement?

As citizens and as scholars, we have an interest in today’s debates about public policy, conversations about the state of the world, and imagining a different future. Read more about the Public Engagement Projects' Mission and Vision

Upcoming Events

Op-Ed Writing Workshop
December 4, 10:30am to 12:00pm

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, comments in an article about whether President Trump’s legal challenges will succeed in changing the outcome of the election

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, comments in an article about whether President Trump’s legal challenges will succeed in changing the outcome of the election. Collins says the lawsuits were filed for “purely political reasons ...  as a way of delegitimizing the Biden administration and the electoral process itself.” Read more at the Boston Globe and Salon

Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, was among women in downtown Northampton reacting to the election of California Sen. Kamala Harris as the nation’s first female, first Black person, and first Asian American elected vice president

Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, was among women in downtown Northampton reacting to the election of California Sen. Kamala Harris as the nation’s first female, first Black person, and first Asian American elected vice president. Sharrow said, “I think there is good reason to believe that the election of Sen. Kamala Harris to the vice presidency is likely to have long-term impacts on how girls — and girls of color, in particular — orient themselves to politics.” Read more at the Daily Hampshire Gazette

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, is a part of a committee that released a new report calling for more comprehensive data on LGBTQI+ well-being

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, is a part of a committee that released a new report calling for more comprehensive data on LGBTQI+ well-being. The report, “Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQI+ Populations,” says the makeup of the LGBTQI+ community has undergone dramatic changes in the past decade. As more young people, women, bisexual people, and racial and ethnic minorities identify as part of the sexual and gender diverse population, research needs to keep pace by better measuring its unique and varied nature. Read more at the UMass News Release

Virtual Op-Ed Writing Workshop

December 4, 10:30am to 12:00pm
Zoom

2020 has been quite the year... a pandemic, rampant racism and civil unrest, polarized politics, and a contentious election. As we approach a new year, with an extended winter break, we can use this time to reflect on all we've lived through, and what insights we have to offer as we look ahead. The op-ed workshop is designed to help UMass scholars prepare for sharing their insights with the public at this crucial time. Participants will learn how to craft a good lede, identify and incorporate timely news hooks, signal the author’s unique and relevant expertise, increase the likelihood of publication, and structure an op-ed for maximum impact. The workshop is great for all scholars, whether they have written op-eds before or are just starting to think about writing their first piece. 

How to Talk to Your Neighbor: A Guide For Difficult Discussions

October 29, 12:00pm to 1:30pm
https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwsd-yhpzoqGdKlcKanb_hC5_l7wfZrfMdR

These days our country feels more divided than ever, but that doesn't mean we can't have friends with different viewpoints. With Chandra Whetstine (One America Movement), we will learn why it is hard to broach difficult subjects, and we will practice talking about those topics in small groups. 

Chandra DeNap Whetstine serves as the One America Movement’s Senior Director of Programs and Operations, leading the development and implementation of the chapter model which brings people together across political, racial, and religious divides to take action on issues that matter in their communities. Chandra supports the development of strategic partnerships with other non-profit and faith-based organizations as well as community and corporate leaders to further

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is the author of two opinion columns about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and was recently quoted about the ROE act

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is the author of two opinion columns about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and was recently quoted about the ROE act. The first article focuses on Coney Barrett’s evasiveness and reluctance to answer questions during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, while the other examines how conservative groups will advance their agendas before a Supreme Court if and when Coney Barrett is seated. Collins is also quoted in a news article about renewed interest among local activists in passing the ROE Act, state legislation that would reduce restrictions on abortion in the commonwealth and, for the first time, introduce an affirmative right to abortion into state law. Read more at the Conversation, the New York Daily News, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, a part of report finding that the economy, health care, and COVID-19 - not immigration - will drive 2020 Latino vote

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, a part of report finding that the economy, health care, and COVID-19 - not immigration - will drive 2020 Latino vote. “Both political parties need to recognize that Latinos are 18% of all Americans, and this year and in the future, they will decide elections,” said Tomaskovic-Devey, founding director of the UMass Center for Employment Equity. “Latinos are citizens and should be valued for their contributions to the society as essential workers, with broad policy preferences that include living wages, freedom from discrimination, and access to high-quality health care.” Read more at the UMass News Release

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, discusses the approach Judge Amy Coney Barrett took during the questioning phase of her confirmation hearings by avoiding critical court issues

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, discusses the approach Judge Amy Coney Barrett took during the questioning phase of her confirmation hearings by avoiding critical court issues. “Though past nominees have also avoided answering some of the senators’ questions, Barrett took this to a whole new level,” said Collins. “Having studied how forthcoming nominees have been since public confirmation hearings at which nominees testified began in 1939, I think Barrett will rank as among the least responsive nominees in American history.” Read more at Boston Globe

Ezra Markowitz, PEP Steering Committee Member, has been appointed to the newly formed American Psychological Association's Climate Change Task Force

Ezra Markowitz, PEP Steering Committee Member, has been appointed to the newly formed American Psychological Association's Climate Change Task Force. The task force will review previous and current research and meet virtually to discuss goal recommendations and strategies for future initiatives. The task force will produce a report for the Council of Representatives and share results with APA membership and the public. Read more about the task force here

Linda Tropp, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted in an article titled, “How to Meet People Who Are Different from You.”

Linda Tropp, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted in an article titled, “How to Meet People Who Are Different from You.” Tropp discusses the interpersonal and emotional processes involved with changing how we think of others and how they should be treated. She explains, “What we see is that deep, close contact across group lines, like friendships or meaningful relationships, tends to be stronger in changing how we feel toward other groups.” Read more at Yes! magazine.  

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In appreciation of their generous support, the UMass Public Engagement Project would like to thank the Office of the ProvostUniversity Relations, and the Colleges of Natural SciencesSocial and Behavioral Sciences Humanities and Fine ArtsEngineeringPublic Health, and Education.  The UMass Public Engagement Project also recognizes and appreciates in-kind contributions and collaborations with the Center for Research on Families and the Institute for Social Science Research