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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Linda R. Tropp, PEP Co-Director, assisted in the development of a guide note of intergroup activities developed by the International Organization for Migration

Linda R. Tropp, PEP Co-Director, assisted in the development of a guide note of intergroup activities developed by the International Organization for Migration. In this guide note, key evidence-based recommendations are outlined for project managers and event facilitators can leverage to ensure maximum positive impact of social mixing activities. Through meaningful social mixing in both the face-to-face and digital worlds, migrants and host communities can develop stronger positive social connections, allowing for a shift away from xenophobic and anti-migrant attitudes. Read The Power of Contact here. Tropp was also recently cited in an article titled, “How to Generate Research Ideas that Impact Society”. Read more at Inside Higher Ed.

Julia Brighman-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, was in a panel introducing the 50x30 Coalition during Biden’s Climate Summit Day

Julia Brighman-Grette, 2017 PEP Fellow, was in a panel introducing the 50x30 Coalition during Biden’s Climate Summit Day. Brighman-Grette was in a panel announcing the 50x30 Coalition -- an urgent push to get all governments to take seriously the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. The event. Proudly, UMass-Amherst is among the founding members of the 50x30 Coalition.  Others stretch from New Zealand to Finland. See the event recording here on the virtual program in the upper left corner: https://www.50x30.net/

Additional coverage can also be found through Mashable where Brighman-Grette is quoted in an article about what the world was like during the Pliocene — the last time Earth’s CO2 levels were as high as they are today. Brigham-Grette says sea level rise and ocean acidification seen during the Pliocene “are permanent on a human time scale.”  Read more at Mashable

Erin Baker, PEP Steering Committee Member, is interviewed about the Biden administration’s plan to increase construction of offshore wind farms

Erin Baker, PEP Steering Committee Member, is interviewed about the Biden administration’s plan to increase construction of offshore wind farms. Baker says there’s no one technology that’s going to solve our “massive challenge with climate,” but “offshore wind is really exciting because we have amazing resources in the ocean … and a third of the U.S. population lives in a county that borders the shore.”  See more at BYU Radio. Baker is quoted in a separate column about predicted reductions in the cost of wind energy. She says, “The Biden administration is taking great strides in this direction, by coordinating and fast-tracking the federal approval process. If states and local jurisdictions follow suit, we can get steel in the water and take advantage of the lowering costs to start fighting climate change.” Read more at Saur Energy, and the News Office release.

Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, published an opinion piece that looks at efforts by state governments across the country to ban transgender girls and women from participating in scholastic and collegiate sports with cisgender athletes

Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, published an opinion piece that looks at efforts by state governments across the country to ban transgender girls and women from participating in scholastic and collegiate sports with cisgender athletes, and their challenge to Title IX. “In an era before transgender identities consolidated, policymakers did not specify how sex-segregated teams should account for gender identity,” Sharrow writes. “But as more youth publicly identify as transgender, nonbinary or genderqueer, lawmakers in many states are scrutinizing and defining who “belongs” on girl’s and women’s teams. Transgender and nonbinary people often dis-identify with the sex assigned on their birth certificates, the only gender-marker many lawmakers currently propose should determine athletic participation.” Read more at The Washington Post.

Erin Baker, PEP Steering Committee Member, and colleagues at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory predict significant reductions in the cost of wind energy by 2050, according to new research published in the journal Nature Energy

Erin Baker, PEP Steering Committee Member, and colleagues at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory predict significant reductions in the cost of wind energy by 2050, according to new research published in the journal Nature Energy. Baker, the director of the Wind Energy Fellows program and faculty director of The Energy Transition Initiative at UMass Amherst, and the Berkeley Lab surveyed the world’s foremost wind energy experts, who said that technological and commercial advancements are expected to drive down costs significantly. They predict wind energy costs will decrease 17-35% by 2035 and 37-49% by 2050, under a median or ‘best guess’ scenario. The experts anticipate that these reductions will be driven by bigger and more efficient turbines, lower capital and operating costs, and other advancements that will create cost reductions in wind energy production. Read more at the Power Engineering InternationalTechnology.org, and News Office release.

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, and colleagues published new research finding greater transparency and clarity in workload and assignments may grant women more success in a wide range of occupations

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, and colleagues published new research finding greater transparency and clarity in workload and assignments may grant women more success in a wide range of occupations. Misra and colleagues observed that workload transparency and clarity, and consistent approaches to assigning classes, advising, and service, can reduce perceptions of inequitable and unfair workloads among women, among numerous other findings. Using data collected from 947 respondents in 53 departments from 22 institutions of higher learning, the research team explored how faculty members perceive workload in their department. Examining differences by race and gender, they identify mechanisms that can help shape their perceptions of greater equity and fairness. Read more at UMass News Release and here.

Nilanjana Dasgupta, 2015 PEP Fellow, was recently named a 2021-22 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Awardee

Nilanjana Dasgupta, 2015 PEP Fellow, was recently named a 2021-22 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Awardee. The Conti Fellowship acknowledges the high quality and importance of a faculty member’s accomplishments in research and creative activity at UMass Amherst and their potential for continuing excellence, particularly with respect to the project that they propose to undertake during the fellowship. Her pathbreaking research was highly praised in her references, Quite frankly, she is a trailblazing scientist who is conducting impeccable research that aims to reduce gender and other forms of social inequity in academia and the workplace.” Read more at UMass News Release.

Erin Baker, PEP Steering Committee Member, will moderate a panel on Wednesday, April 21, for the Woodrow Wilson Center and Smithsonian

Erin Baker, PEP Steering Committee Member, will moderate a panel on Wednesday, April 21, for the Woodrow Wilson Center and Smithsonian. The panel entitled “Offshore Energy: Favorable Winds for Renewables?” runs from 10 to 11 a.m. Baker will moderate a panel of experts discussing offshore wind as a part of the Wilson Center’s Earth Week events in conjunction with the Smithsonian Conservation Common’s Earth Optimism Initiative. Read more at UMass News Release and the Wilson Center.

Toussaint Losier, 2019 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article about the increasing success of JusticeLA, a Los Angeles-based coalition of grassroots activists who formerly represented six separate justice reform organizations

Toussaint Losier, 2019 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article about the increasing success of JusticeLA, a Los Angeles-based coalition of grassroots activists who formerly represented six separate justice reform organizations. “They’ve done a remarkable job of balancing the different elements of what social movement work requires to be successful,” Losier says. “And they’ve done it in a way that has distinguished them from what we find in other parts of the country, where you have organizations or even local coalitions that are good at doing one aspect of this … to the exclusion of others.” Read more at The Guardian and Yahoo!News

Miliann Kang, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted in an article examining the stereotypes about Asian Americans – and the income gap they face – following the Atlanta massage parlor shootings

Miliann Kang, PEP Steering Committee Member, is quoted in an article examining the stereotypes about Asian Americans – and the income gap they face – following the Atlanta massage parlor shootings. Kang says that Asian immigrant women are “the pillars of the family in providing economic support, but oftentimes it’s invisible.” Read more at the Los Angeles TimesYahoo!Entertainment, and Tribune News Service.

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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