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

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Elizabeth Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, received a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will fund trauma treatment for people struggling with addiction in the Franklin County jail

Elizabeth Evans, 2018 PEP Fellow, is one of the recipients of a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will fund trauma treatment for people struggling with addiction in the Franklin County jail and support assistance for people with substance use disorder after they are released from jail. Evans will work with several agencies that are part of the HEALing (Helping End Addiction Long-term) Franklin County project to improve the county’s response to the opioid epidemic. The program is designed to accelerate science-based solutions to the national opioid public health crisis. Read more at RecorderWWLP-TV 22, and News Office release

Laurel Smith-Doerr, PEP Steering Committee Member, writes that colleges should use their own faculty expertise to develop internal research and development with the goal of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion

Laurel Smith-Doerr, PEP Steering Committee Member, writes that colleges should use their own faculty expertise to develop internal research and development with the goal of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, instead of solely relying on leaders and diversity officers. She cites her own research at UMass Amherst that looked at collaboration and gender equity among academic scientists as an example. Read more at Inside Higher Ed.  

Toussaint Losier, 2019 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a radio report about the 50th anniversary of an uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility

Toussaint Losier, 2019 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a radio report about the 50th anniversary of an uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility and the contributions the Nation of Islam, also known as Black Muslims, made to the movement for prison reform. Losier, co-author of the book “Rethinking the American Prison Movement,” said, “It was not Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement but the Nation of Islam that effected the greatest legal change for people in prison … You have prisoners who end up in isolation, in segregation, because they have copies of Elijah Muhammad's columns or are struggling to get access to the Koran.”  Listen to the full interview at WNYC and read the transcript at Gothamist.

M.V. Lee Badgett, Former PEP Steering Committee Member, is one of a handful of experts interviewed in a column regarding ways the economic gap to LGBTQ adults can be closed

M.V. Lee Badgett, Former PEP Steering Committee Member, is one of a handful of experts interviewed in a column regarding ways the economic gap to LGBTQ adults can be closed. Badgett explains, “Looking at the data and seeing high levels of food insecurity, housing insecurity, etc., any policies that we have that address those issues will be of particular help to LGBT people.” Read more at San Diego Union-Tribune

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a news article exploring the possibility of President Joe Biden looking to expand the Supreme Court following the Court’s refusal to hear arguments against Texas’ new abortion law

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a news article exploring the possibility of President Joe Biden looking to expand the Supreme Court following the Court’s refusal to hear arguments against Texas’ new abortion law. “The Supreme Court's five most conservative justices handed progressives substantial ammunition in the battle to expand the Supreme Court. By refusing to halt the law from going into effect, the court effectively overruled Roe v. Wade in the state of Texas, at least temporarily," Collins said. “And they did it without giving the case full consideration, which will lead to calls not only for court expansion, but also for limiting the court's use of its shadow docket to make public policy.” Read more at Newsweek

Linda R. Tropp, PEP Director, was interviewed about how group differences in status impact cross-group relations

Linda R. Tropp, PEP Director, was interviewed about how group differences in status impact cross-group relations. Tropp explains, “On the one hand, we might feel threatened by group difference or uncomfortable engaging with people who are different. On the other hand, there’s the prospect for having positive experiences. Well, if you don’t have any opportunities for positive experiences, then all you have is the threat, the stereotypes, the suspicion, discomfort, unease.” Read more at Association for Psychological Science

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a news article exploring the possibility of President Joe Biden looking to expand the Supreme Court following the Court’s refusal to hear arguments against Texas’ new abortion law

Paul Collins, 2015 PEP Fellow, is quoted in a news article exploring the possibility of President Joe Biden looking to expand the Supreme Court following the Court’s refusal to hear arguments against Texas’ new abortion law. “The Supreme Court's five most conservative justices handed progressives substantial ammunition in the battle to expand the Supreme Court. By refusing to halt the law from going into effect, the court effectively overruled Roe v. Wade in the state of Texas, at least temporarily," Collins said. “And they did it without giving the case full consideration, which will lead to calls not only for court expansion, but also for limiting the court's use of its shadow docket to make public policy.” Read more at Newsweek

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted in an article about the economic impact the COVID pandemic has had on the LGBTQ community

M.V. Lee Badgett, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted in an article about the economic impact the COVID pandemic has had on the LGBTQ community. “If we’re starting out on unequal footing, it’s just going to get worse with a pandemic. It’s going to reach into economically vulnerable populations and hit them harder, and groups with health disparities, like LGBTQ people, are also going to be hit worse,” says Badgett, author of the book “The Economic Case for LGBT Equality.” Read more at NBC News

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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