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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Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, has written an article endorsing proposals for a monthly payment to parents to help address child poverty in the U.S., an idea she notes originated with former President Richard Nixon as the Family Assistance Plan

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, has written an article endorsing proposals for a monthly payment to parents to help address child poverty in the U.S., an idea she notes originated with former President Richard Nixon as the Family Assistance Plan. Misra explains, "Currently, this is an annual benefit families may receive after filing income taxes. Instead, parents would get monthly per-child payments of $250 or $300, depending on the age of their children. Greater frequency could make a huge difference for cash-strapped parents who often run short of money needed to keep their pantries full and bills paid." Read more at The Conversation.

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, recently published an opinion piece with colleagues about the pressure the pandemic is placing on women and faculty of color in higher education

Joya Misra, 2021 PEP Fellow, recently published an opinion piece with colleagues about the pressure the pandemic is placing on women and faculty of color in higher education. Misra and colleagues outline a model that can be used to address the impact of the pandemic on inclusivity in higher education. "The TREE model emphasizes thinking ahead, resource provision, evaluation, and equity. It focuses on addressing both short-term and long-term impacts on faculty members to center equity as a goal. By cultivating the ground effectively and establishing the roots of equity, colleges and universities can ensure that faculty members grow through this pandemic rather than have stunted careers." Read more at Inside Higher Ed

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, was recently interviewed about vaccine attitudes and dating app behavior

Devon Greyson, 2021 PEP Fellow, was recently interviewed about vaccine attitudes and dating app behavior. “I think considering the current limitations on vaccine access and worries about privilege, people queue-jumping ... the issue of vaccination being seen as a desirable trait on dating apps does raise some concerns,” Greyson said. “But on the other hand, social norms influence people’s vaccine attitudes and behavior. So sharing pro-vaccine attitudes on social media, including dating or hookup apps, is not necessarily a bad thing.” Read more at the Huffington Post.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article questioning the effect on workforce diversity of Salesforce’s new remote work hiring strategy

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article questioning the effect on workforce diversity of Salesforce’s new remote work hiring strategy. Tomaskovic-Devey explains that Salesforce will consider remote work hiring in other locations is a start, "but they probably also need some outreach that makes clear they are looking for increased diversity in hiring, in order to get the applications." Read more at TechTarget

Linda R. Tropp, PEP Co-Director, recently published research on key ways to motivating advantaged racial groups to act in support of racial equality

Linda R. Tropp, PEP Co-Director, recently published research on key ways to motivating advantaged racial groups to act in support of racial equalityTropp and colleagues found that having open communication about group differences is a crucial pathway. "Our views of the world are a function of our lived experience," Tropp says. "The mere act of being willing to listen and accept the validity of the experiences of people who are different from you is a profound step toward bridging difference and building unity." Read more at Science Codex and the News Office release.

Erica Scharrer, 2017 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article that provides tips for parents to understand the psychological effects graphic violence and violent media has on kids

Erica Scharrer, 2017 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article that provides tips for parents to understand the psychological effects graphic violence and violent media has on kids. Scharrer explains, “Older children and teens might hear about events from other sources, like social media or conversations with peers, but it’s a good idea to shield younger children from the news and answer any questions that arise with honesty, but without too much detail.” Regardless of age, Dr. Scharrer recommends that the most important things parents can do are assure children that they’re safe, stick to household routines, and be on the lookout for sleep disturbances, changes in behavior, or other signs of anxiety. Read more 30seconds

Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article describing how President-elect Joe Biden’s administration is expected to deal with challenges surrounding transgender athletes in high school and college sports

Elizabeth Sharrow, 2020 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article describing how President-elect Joe Biden’s administration is expected to deal with challenges surrounding transgender athletes in high school and college sports. Sharrow says, it may fall to Congress to clarify whether Title IX protects or bars the participation of transgender females in women’s sports. Read more at the Associated PressWHDH, and Greenfield Recorder

Amy Schalet, PEP Steering Committee Member, was recently quoted in an article on parents letting their children's boyfriends and girlfriends join family quarantine bubbles

Amy Schalet, PEP Steering Committee Member, was recently quoted in an article on parents letting their children's boyfriends and girlfriends join family quarantine bubbles. The pandemic might end up prompting American parents to loosen the rules when it comes to their older children's relationships, said Amy Schalet, sociology, and author of "Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens and the Culture of Sex."  "The pandemic is driving home to everyone how important intimacy is," Schalet said. "My sense is that this is a moment of conversation in America around a culture that emphasizes this focus on individual pursuits and yet everyone is feeling the intensity of isolation,” she continued. Read more at AZfamily.com and CNN.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article reporting that the Biden administration is looking to boost pay transparency for all U.S. workers through better data collection

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, 2018 PEP Fellow, is quoted in an article reporting that the Biden administration is looking to boost pay transparency for all U.S. workers through better data collection. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved this collection during the Obama administration, but it was halted by Pres. Trump. “If the EEOC treated the private sector like the federal sector, we might see more progress,” Tomaskovic-Devey says. Read more at Bloomberg Law.

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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