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

Telling Compelling Data-driven Stories: How to Make Numbers Meaningful, Accessible, and Actionable 

September 29, 2022 (10 AM - 11:30 AM) 

2023 PEP Fellowship Informational Session 

October 26, 2022 (12 PM - 1 PM) 

College Area Events 

College of Education: September 30, 2022

 

 

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, was interviewed for a story about how COVID-19 policies designed to help faculty during the pandemic could infuse more bias against underrepresented groups when it comes to tenure and promotion decisions

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, was interviewed for a story about how COVID-19 policies designed to help faculty during the pandemic — such as disclosures about how it impeded their work — could infuse more bias against underrepresented groups when it comes to tenure and promotion decisions. “In a healthy institution, where care is not seen as a negative thing…it should be easy enough for people to disclose,” Misra says. “But as long as people are at institutions where it is stigmatized, asking people to write about it could actually damage their long-term career prospects. I truly believe that every institution that has pandemic impact statements needs training on how to use them.” Read more at Science.org .

 

Michael Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article on climate scientists expecting western Massachusetts to get hotter and wetter over the next century

Michael Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article on climate scientists expecting western Massachusetts to get hotter and wetter over the next century. Rawlins, associate director of the Climate System Research Center, explains that “We’re experiencing more frequent occurrences of intense heat … and we’re seeing a wetter climate here; annual total precipitation has been increasing,” said Michael Rawlins, the associate director of the Climate System Research Center at UMass. “We’re seeing a reduction in cold, essentially.” Read more about the implications of this weather change at the Greenfield Recorder, Daily Hampshire Gazette, and Greenfield Recorder (podcast interview). 

Stephen Sireci, 2016 PEP Fellow, was recently quoted after the release of the “nation’s report card” advocating that state leaders must take action in supporting children's education

Stephen Sireci, 2016 PEP Fellow, was recently quoted after the release of the “nation’s report card” advocating that state leaders must take action in supporting children's education. Sireci, director of the Center for Educational Assessment, commented on the recently released National Assessment for Educational Progress, often called the “nation’s report card,” that reported that test scores nationwide fell further over the pandemic than they have in decades, offered a clear diagnosis: Many kids need help, and those who’ve struggled most historically need urgent attention. “We need to go beyond noticing and recording the decline to actually doing something about it,” Sireci said. Read more at Boston Globe

Nilanjana Dasgupta, 2015 PEP Fellow, writes about ways to make STEM fields more diverse

Nilanjana Dasgupta, 2015 PEP Fellow, writes about ways to make STEM fields more diverse. Dasgupta, who leads the UMass-based Institute of Diversity Sciences, says, “When educators connect science and engineering to social good, build relationships and create communities that intentionally draw in people who are usually invisible, we automatically attract and advance the talents of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.” Read more at The Conversation

Michael Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow and associate director of the Climate System Research Center, is quoted on New England precipitation

Michael Rawlins, 2015 PEP Fellow and associate director of the Climate System Research Center, is quoted on New England precipitation. Rawlins explains that since the 1950s, there’s been a 70 percent increase in the number of days that New England sees extreme levels of precipitation. “That’s a clear fingerprint of a warming world,” he says. Read more at Boston Globe and additional coverage in the Boston Globe

Agnès Lacreuse, 2022 PEP Fellow, has co-written an article about expanding Alzheimer’s research with primates

Agnès Lacreuse, 2022 PEP Fellow, has co-written an article about expanding Alzheimer’s research with primates. Research on primates may help overcome the problem with treatments that show promise in mice but don’t help humans. Lacreuse and colleugues explain, “We believe that research in nonhuman primates, when conducted with the highest ethical standards, provides the best chance to understand how and why Alzheimer’s disease progresses, and to design treatments that are safe and effective in people.” Read more at The Conversation

Elizabeth Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, is interviewed about improving the release process for incarcerated individuals in a way that maintains opioid treatment continuity to help prevent overdoses

Elizabeth Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, is interviewed about improving the release process for incarcerated individuals in a way that maintains opioid treatment continuity to help prevent overdoses. Evans was co-principal investigator of a new study by researchers at UMass Amherst, Tufts University School of Medicine and UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate that identified improvements needed to help incarcerated individuals transition from jail to the community. Read more at WWLP, and the News Office release.  

Jonathan R. Wynn, 2017 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article about tensions surrounding the holding of large music festivals in Chicago

Jonathan R. Wynn, 2017 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article about tensions surrounding the holding of large music festivals in Chicago. While such events act as massive sources of revenue for the city, some frustrated residents say the festivities disrupt communities, underscore inequality in the city and are simply more trouble than they’re worth. “Because music festivals aren’t brick-and-mortar establishments, they do have a kind of ephemeral aspect to them,” Wynn says. “They fly in, set up shop, bring in tourism dollars, then move on.” Read more at Bloomberg.com.

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is interviewed about what might happen if the Supreme Court takes up Donald Trump’s appeal of the release of his tax records and what the implications might be

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is interviewed about what might happen if the Supreme Court takes up Donald Trump’s appeal of the release of his tax records and what the implications might be. “First, public support for the Court is at an all-time low and this would put the Court in the political spotlight. If the justices were to rule for Trump, that would almost certainly further diminish the legitimacy of the Court in the eyes of the public,” Collins says. “Second, the court of appeals decision was unanimous, and upheld the district court decision, which was made by a judge Trump appointed. This is pretty solid evidence that Trump does not have an especially strong case that requires intervention by the Supreme Court.” Read more at WJACTV.com

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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 Health Sciences, 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