The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Impact Archives


The bedrock of SBS is our impassioned, inspired, and intellectually diverse faculty. We’re renowned for innovative and interactive teaching methods and our ability to introduce research into the classroom. 


James Heintz Charters New Economic Policies

Professor Heintz in the classroom

James Heintz ’91 PhD, the Andrew Glyn Professor of Economics, looks beyond rates of growth, employment, and other macroeconomic indicators to learn how they affect human rights. He is a leader in examining the intersection of economic policy and rights such as access to housing, food, and health care.

The endowed professorship allows Heintz to devote more time to research and to participate in international forums, including presenting papers to the United Nation’s General Assembly. Prior to his appointment as a faculty member in the economics department, Heintz was a research professor at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). There, his work focused on gender equality in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa and evolved to studying how economic policy affects human rights.



Michelle Budig Advances Gender Equality in the Workforce

Michelle Budig, Professor of Sociology

Michelle Budig, professor of sociology, has been a highly influential figure in the social scientific understanding of gender inequality in the labor force in the developed world. In the past five years, she has received a multitude of awards and honors, and her work has been extensively drawn upon by policy makers and researchers. She recently gave testimony to the US Congress and the Massachusetts legislature, regularly contributes quotes to NYT and NPR, and the Government Accountability Office has asked for her input on writing federal reports on gender inequality.

In 2016, she received the Dean’s Research Excellence Award.



Anna Branch Appointed Faculty Advisor to Chancellor for Diversity and Excellence

Enobong (Anna) Branch, associate professor of sociology

Enobong (Anna) Branch, associate professor of sociology and director of diversity advancement for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has been appointed as Chancellor Subbaswamy's new faculty advisor for diversity and excellence.

In this new role, Branch will serve on the Campus Leadership Council, representing Chancellor Subbaswamy to all campus groups, committees and councils involved in advancing diversity. She will be responsible for working with various groups such as the Faculty Senate Status of Diversity Council and the Chancellor’s Diversity Advisory Committee, as well as members of the senior administration, staff, faculty and students, to develop and implement appropriate academic initiatives to advance the campus’s diversity goals. 



Donal Carbaugh Named Distinguished Scholar

Donal Carbaugh, professor of communication

Donal Carbaugh, professor of communication, has been named a 2016 Distinguished Scholar by the National Communication Association (NCA). Given annually, the NCA Distinguished Scholar Award is the association’s highest accolade. It honors a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. Recipients are selected by their peers to showcase the best of the communication discipline.

Last year, the NCA honored Carbaugh with its Outstanding Scholarship Award in Language and Social Interaction for his book Cultures in Conversation for it’s influential “classic” research. He also received the NCA’s Christine L. Oravec Research Award in Environmental Communication in 2013.




Our students are passionate about making a mark on the world. Through campus activism, organizing socially-minded campus events, or participating in research with faculty on real-world issues, they are constantly striving to make an impact.


Tenzin Thargay ’18 Spearheads Five College Conference for Compassionate Leadership

Tenzin Thargay '18, Political Science

Tenzin Thargay (political science) has racked up more impressive accomplishments than seem possible for a second-semester sophomore. He’s an active member of the SBS Academic Leadership Fellows Program and the recipient of two significant awards, the Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace and the Salute to Service Scholarship. In the spring of 2016, he was awarded the Council for American Ambassadors Fellowship in Washington, D.C., the first UMass Amherst student to receive this prestigious honor.

In April 2016 he ran the Five College Conference for Compassionate Leadership at UMass to teach compassionate leadership as a means of reducing conflict worldwide. The keynote speaker was Thupten Jinpa Langri, official translator for the Dalai Lama, and a panel of Five College professors from various disciplines discussed what compassion means in their fields.

“I started planning this conference in December of 2015, after reflecting on what a terrible year 2015 was,” explains Thargay. “There was so much conflict domestically and abroad, from racial issues to the refugee crisis, that I asked myself, ‘What’s missing?’ I realized what was missing: compassion—understanding the other side without making assumptions.”



Professor Razvan Sibii’s Social Justice Journalism Course Explores Issues of Immigration

Raz Sibii, professor of journalism

Professor Raz Sibii’s course, Social Justice Journalism, dives deep into one major issue each semester that it is offered, providing students with a profound understanding of the topic at hand. This past spring, the class delved into issues surrounding immigration, and students collaborated with MassLive to publish their work. These stories profile the journeys and experiences of documented and undocumented immigrants, covering issues such as being taken advantage of in the workforce and the detention of undocumented immigrants.

You can read the entire series on MassLive.


Stephanie Chan '17 and Timothy Marple '16 Win Rising Researcher Award

Stephanie Chan (right) and Timothy Marple (left)

Junior Stephanie Chan and senior Timothy Marple, both political science, are being recognized for their significant contributions to political science research. Chan and Marple received praise from their advisors for their ability to design, analyze, and administer political science research tools. “Tim has acquired quite the reputation around the department for his research chops,” says Marple’s faculty advisor Jesse Rhodes. According to Chan’s advisors Meredith Rolfe and Kevin Young, Chan has made significant contributions to multiple research projects within the department, several of which have earned her coauthorship credit.

Among their most notable accomplishments, Chan and Marple are coauthors with Professor Rolfe on the research paper “Defining Democracy: Public Understandings of ‘Democracy’” which examines the everyday ways in which Americans understand and use the term “democracy.” This research has been the subject of several academic conference papers and presentations, including the Midwest Political Science Association conference, considered one of the top conferences in the discipline. “Tim is quite possibly the single most outstanding student I have encountered during my time at UMass, with tremendous intellectual ambition, great curiosity, and remarkable energy,” says Rhodes. “Stephanie’s contributions are of such high quality that I have added her as a coauthor on a chapter to appear in the Oxford Handbook of Political Networks,” says Rolfe.


College Updates

Official Launch of the School of Public Policy

In 1998, Dean John Hird welcomed the first class of students to the Center for Public Policy & Administration as the (then) founding director. This year, we are proud to announce that the CPPA was approved by the UMass Board of Trustees to evolve into the School of Public Policy (SPP) with Charlie Schweik leading the school as Interim Director. As a school, SPP will be introducing a new Public Policy major to the UMass curriculum, expanding it’s influence in educating the future policy analysts, policy administrators, and leaders of the world. Currently, the school offers a growing master’s degree program.

Schweik will be working with SPP and other faculty to design a new undergraduate major in public policy. He also plans to collaborate with other departments and colleges at UMass to continue building SPP’s strong interdisciplinary programs of teaching and research, and to help organize the physical move of SPP from its home in Gordon Hall to another space on campus in 2017.

CPPA has long been an important hub for interdisciplinary research and teaching at UMass. The move to a School will provide even more opportunities for our flagship campus to contribute cutting-edge scholarship in the fields of public policy and administration, and to serve the outreach mission of our land-grant university.


A Focus on Career Development

This year, SBS welcomed Carol Sharick as the new Director of Professional and Career Development. Carol joins us from Amherst College where she worked in the Career Center for 13 years.

In this role, Sharick has been working to develop new strategies and resources to prepare our students for success upon graduation. To name a few accomplishment, she has implemented a new alumni-student job shadowing program, and has been integral in bringing more alumni to campus for networking and educational opportunities for students.

If you are interested in participating in an alumni-student opportunity, please email Carol Sharick.

UMass Rising Campaign a Success

The UMass Rising Campaign brought our university community together like never before. The largest campaign in our history and for public higher education in Massachusetts, UMass Rising mobilized more than 100,000 alumni and friends who participated. We broadened educational opportunities for many more students with $59 million in increased aid. We built on our hallmark strengths as a university and planted the seeds of discovery in new research territories.


Teaching Excellence

This year’s SBS Outstanding Teaching Award goes to Professor Carol E. Heim who has been at UMass Amherst since 1981. Heim has an extensive teaching record in both the Department of Economics and the School of Public Policy (formerly the Center for Public Policy and Administration), and has offered four different undergraduate courses on economic history and macroeconomics as well as two graduate economic history courses. She is also the Director of the Economics Undergraduate Research Assistant (EURA) program.

Embracing the interdisciplinary nature of research and academics within SBS, Heim created a course for the School of Public Policy, Topics in Urban and Housing Policy, which draws upon her research in economic history and her involvement in local and regional planning and community preservation. This course has a wide appeal for students completing masters degrees in both Public Policy and Administration and Regional Planning. Regarding Topics, Heim says she believes that "an understanding of economic history provides an extremely valuable perspective on current developments and possibilities.  It brings an awareness that things haven't always been this way; they also could be different in the future. In all of my courses, I try to focus attention on issues of social justice and equity."


An Updated Look

In September of 2016, SBS launched a newly designed website to better meet the needs of students, faculty, and alumni while aligning more closely with UMass Amherst brand standards. The redesign process was highly collaborative, with input and feedback from faculty, staff, students, and alumni along the way.

Some highlights include a beautiful new academics page that highlights the areas of study within the college, a focus on advising and success - both academically and professionally - for students, and extensive resources to support faculty. It also emphasizes connectivity among alumni, with tools for alumni to connect to one another, news and reports meant to keep alumni apprised of new developments in the college, and opportunities to engage with students on campus. In the coming year, more updates will be made to highlight the people and work to come out of SBS.


Social Science Matters: Perspectives on Immigration

This speaker series features experts discussing policy and intellectual questions around migration, including how U.S. immigration policy will be impacted by the current presidential candidates and the humanitarian crisis of the current worldwide refugee movement.

The series will kick off with The Freedman Lecture, in memory of Max and Ruth Freedman. Labor Economist from Harvard University, George Borjas, will discuss main arguments from his book We Wanted Workers: A Discussion of the Economic Impacts of Immigration as part of a panel for the Social Science Matters series on Migration. Accompanying him on the panel will be Jenny Hunt from Rutgers and Arin Dube from UMass.

Events ongoing throughout the year. Please check our calendar for dates and details.

Dean Alfange Jr. Lecture in American Constitutionalism

September 15, 2016 – 4:00pm  |  Campus Center – Amherst Room  

Professor Jamal Greene, Vice Dean and Professor of Law at Columbia Law School will present this year. Greene is a widely recognized expert on constitutional law, theories of constitutional interpretation, federal courts, and citizenship.

His research has used sociological and political perspectives to examine the various meanings of “originalism”. In 2003, he received the Edgar M. Cullen Prize for best paper by a first-year law student, and in 2005, he was awarded the Burton H. Brody Prize for best paper on constitutional privacy. His publications are numerous, high quality, creative and range in audience from scholarly to popular outlets. In addition to the Harvard Law Journal and Columbia Law Journal, he has been featured multiple times in the Yale Law Journal of which he is the former Articles Editor. His recent articles “What the New Deal Settled” and “The Missing Due Process Argument in The Health Care Case” examine the constitutional arguments surrounding the individual mandate clause of the Affordable Care Act. He has also written recently on the Voting Rights Act among a wide range of other important topics.

The Dean Alfange, Jr. Lecture in American Constitutionalism was established in 2005 by UMass Amherst alumni to honor emeritus professor Dean Alfange, Jr. of the department of political science for his many noteworthy contributions during a distinguished 32-year academic career.

Philip Gamble Memorial Lecture

October 20, 2016 – 5:00pm | Campus Center Auditorium 

Amartya Sen of Harvard University will present this year's Gamble Memorial Lecture. Sen has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, and indexes of the measure of well-being of citizens of developing countries. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 and Bharat Ratna in 1999 for his work in welfare economics.