September 2013 Newsletter

In this Issue

NSF Funds Development of Research Network for Infrastructure Responses to Coastal Hazards

Department head Elisabeth Hamin (landscape architecture and regional planning) has received $737,000 over five years from the National Science Foundation’s Research Collaboration Network (RCN): Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES).

In Search of a Challenging and Purposeful Career

When Alexander Kniazev ’14 (economics and mathematics) received the William M. Bluestein Memorial Scholarship in May he gained freedom from the financial strain he faces daily.

NSF International Grant Awarded to Anthropologists for CHESS

A $249,861 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) has come to anthropologists Krista Harper and Jacqueline Urla to implement "Culture and Heritage in European Societies and Spaces (CHESS)" for another three years.

ISSR Introduces Inaugural Director

The Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is delighted to introduce its inaugural director, Laurel Smith-Doerr, who was hired after a national search. 

Other Topics of Interest

Energy Department Chief of Staff Knows His Climate Science

Kevin Knobloch

Two days after Kevin Knobloch '78 (journalism) joined the DOE in June, climate policy became one of the biggest priorities of the current administration.

UMass Economists Featured in Mother Jones Cover Story

September/October Mother Jones Cover

The cover story in the September/October issue of Mother Jones features the research paper published in April by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, Robert Polli. Their work disputes the 2010 Reinhart-Rogoff study calling for austerity measures as a fix for the economy.

Young Journalism Alum Finds Dream Coming True

Anna Meiler

Anna Meiler, now a reporter at WKTV NewsChannel 2 in Utica, NY, recently reported live on President Obama’s speech about college affordability in Syracuse.

Less than a year after leaving UMass, Anna Meiler ’12 (journalism) found herself covering one of the biggest news stories to ever hit the area: the Boston Marathon bombings.

New Faculty 2013-14

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences logo

This fall the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences welcomed several new tenure track faculty and lecturers to campus. 

Scholarship Applications Now Available

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences logo

Deadlines approaching for two SBS undergraduate scholarships

Post-Oil City Exhibit makes U.S. Premier at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke

Post-Oil City exhibition poster

A free exhibition, presented by the UMass Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), and the Goethe-Institut Boston, draws from past utopian ideas and contrasts them to current sustainable planning projects across the globe.

SBS Alumni Football Day: Discounted Tickets

UMass football linemen

Mark your calendars! On November 2 the Minutemen take on the Northern Illinois Huskies at Gillette Stadium. SBS alumni can enjoy discounted tickets.

Princeton Review Puts UMass High on ‘Green Honor Roll’

a workday in the UMass permaculture garden

UMass Amherst is one of the top 22 among more than 800 colleges nationwide recognized this month as a “Green Honor Roll School” by The Princeton Review.

UMass Among Top for ROI on Research Investment

UMass system logo

The University of Massachusetts ranked 11th on a list of American universities with the highest rate of licensing revenue return on research investment.

UMass Amherst Among Best Campuses for LGBT Students

Rainbow flag

Campus Pride recognizes UMass Amherst as one of the best campuses in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.

UMass Garden Calendar Now Available

2014 UMass Garden Calendar cover

UMass Garden Calendar makes a great gift. Order today!

Alumni News | Faculty and Department News 

SBS in the News | A Word from SBS

Alumni News

Jed Winer '13 (journalism/BDIC) produced a film during his internship at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. This film has been selected for two film festivals—the American Conservation Film Festival and the 17th Annual Northampton International Film Festival! Check it out!

Michael S. Gove '01 (political science/history) has opened a solo practice in corporate and business law, estate planning, real estate matters and special education law in Northampton, MA, for clients from western Massachusetts and Connecticut. Gove received a law degree from the Boston College School of Law in 2004. He is a corporator of the Horace Smith Fund and volunteers with the Hampshire County United Way and Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Amy Chaunt '13 (journalism) is contestant number 10 in WPRI's The Rhode Show's sixth annual Search for a Star! competition. Check out her audition video and interview

Lindsay Van Dyke '11 (sociology) founded a film festival (the first of its kind!) that happened in Amherst on September 7. "The really exciting part about the event," she says, "is that it's based on a carnival theme from the 1930s. The aesthetic is present in the video I created for the event  and on our website. The festival had live music and performances including aerial acrobatics, fortune tellers, poetry readings, violinists and more. It was funded in part by the Amherst BID along with an array of other organizations. I felt like events that combined film and the arts were missing from the area, so I began organizing with Dorothy Polatin '12 (communication/management), Sarah Wentworth (Mount Holyoke '11), and Mareika De Haas (Bates '11) to make something happen. We've been working hard since spring to put on the event and we have received films from all across New England and New York."

Allison Barkauskas '12 (economics) is an Account Executive/Regional Marketing Consultant at Amazon.

Kailey Anarino '13 (communication) is now a faculty assistant at Harvard Business School. 

Maureen Pollock MRP ’12 has been named the new conservation agent in Greenfield.

John Brady Hamilton '11 (communication) is working in television and film production, expanding into blogging, podcasting, website design and social networking. He's a blogger at GoUpInFilms in New York City and is involved with a developing production company, NYCineFiles.

Dr. Irma McClaurin MA '89, PhD '93 (anthropology), anthropologist, administrator, writer, and now a faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute (FIE), completed the four-week Leadership for a Democratic Society Executive Training Program at the FIE in Charlottesville, Va., this past June. Read more...

Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Association, on their Events Listing. And check out MaroonCentral, the Alumni Association's online community. This is a FREE social networking service that encourages communication and professional networking among alumni and students through class notes, profiles, a searchable directory, and more.

Faculty and Department News

Prof. Elizabeth Chilton (anthropology) is featured in a video that documents the journey toward a community-engaged archaeological project at the Pocumtuck Fort site in Deerfield, MA. The film was created by Erica Kowsz MA/PhD '18 (anthropology) for the graduate seminar in Indigenous Archaeologies last semester. 

Prof. Madeleine Blais is a featured fellow of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. The Foundation is celebrating its 75th anniversary and, as part of its celebration, it is highlighting some of the past Nieman fellows for their contributions to the field of writing. Blais was a fellow in 1986, and won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1980.

Congratulations to sociologist Amy Schalet, whose book Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex has received the American Sociological Association’s Family Section William Goode Book Award. Committee members were impressed with many aspects of the book, including the cross-cultural perspective, the insightful analysis, the clarity of writing, and the importance of the topic for theory and policy. The award was presented in New York City at the ASA’s meeting in August. Click here for a listing of past Goode Book Award winners.

Katie McDermott (education and public policy) is the acting director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration for this academic year, while director M.V. Lee Badgett is on leave on a Conti Faculty Fellowship.

The opening editorial in September’s Harper's Magazine, “Saving Your Children from a Harvard Education” by Jeff Madrick heavily praises UMass Amherst Economics. Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin (of Reinhart-Rogoff fame) and Professor Sam Bowles are featured.

Ray La Raja and Brian Schaffner (political science) have received a $78,000 grant from the Hewlett Foundation to study the effect of party-centered campaign finance laws on American politics. Their project will explore whether a switch from candidate-centered campaign finance laws to more party-centered campaign finance laws could improve elections, representation and governing. Read more…

Lisa Henderson (communication) presented a seminar on queer theory and methodologies at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark on September 26. She will be resident scholar and public lecturer from October 1-15 at the School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

SBS in the News

Boston Globe, 9/20/13. A letter-to-the-editor from Gerald Friedman (economics) says if the U.S. had a more efficient health care system we would live longer and save money. Tampa Bay Times, 8/14/13; The State [S.C.], Sacramento BeeSun Herald [all from McClatchy], America’s Radio News Network, 8/13/13 [sorry, link is no longer available]. Commenting on the rollout of President Obama’s health-care law this October, Friedman says implementing the complex law is likely to be a mess and there are going to be places where websites crash and the system doesn’t work well. Friedman predicts that October is going to be a tough month for the White House.

Washington Post, 9/19/13. A story explaining the differences between the national debt and the national deficit cites a study by Arindrajit Dube (economics)​. Dube found that slow growth highly correlates with high debt, suggesting that a slow economy produces high debt, not the other way around as argued by proponents of economic austerity. NerdWalletInvesting, 9/13/13. Dube discusses the likely impact of raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour in California. Slate, 9/5/13. A study co-authored by Dube found that after the ban on selling assault weapons in the U.S. expired in 2004, the number of homicides in parts of Mexico bordering states without strong gun laws increased by 60 percent compared with areas 100 miles away.

The China PostThe Japan Times, 9/18/13; France 24, 9/17/13. C.N. Le (sociology) comments about Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American woman to win the Miss America contest. He says Americans are getting used to living in a society that isn’t all white, and adds, “Each succeeding generation gets more and more used to living in a diverse, multicultural society.” CNNMoney, 8/12/13. C.N. Le (sociology) is interviewed in a video feature examining the low unemployment rate among Asian Americans. Le states that while Asian-Americans are more willing to take on lower-paying manual labor jobs, stereotypes and a “glass ceiling barrier” prevents them from advancing higher in white-collar jobs.

New York Times [Economix blog], 9/16/13.  Professor Emeritus Nancy Folbre (economics) writes about how the federal income tax system subsidizes spouses, but makes no differentiation between spouses who care for children or elders and those who just do housekeeping. The underlying problem, she says, is how our society defines work, and that caring for others is often not seen as productive work worthy of tax support. New York Times (Economix blog], 9/9/13. Folbre​ blogs about our society appearing to value home ownership more than stay-at-home moms who care for children and elders. For statistical purposes, the U.S. fails to measure family care as work or part of the labor supply. New York Times [Economix blog], 9/2/13. Folbre writes about why on Labor Day, organized labor and most workers have little to celebrate. Wages have been stagnant, unemployment is high and Congress won’t take action to deal with these problems. New York Times [Economix blog], 8/26/13. Folbre focuses on how the emergence of part-time jobs without benefits to replace fully benefitted full-time work is changing the U.S. workforce and how families cope with economic reality. She notes that the new federal health care law will help provide health insurance for some part-time workers who currently don’t qualify. New York Times [Economix blog], 8/19/13. Buying “made in the USA” may appeal to consumers, but it doesn’t really reflect reality and the classification is iffy, says Folbre. The difference between saying something is made in a country, as opposed to assembled is more than just a rhetorical difference, it also reflects how global economics works.

9/13/2013. Sociological Images. Prof. Jennifer Lundquist (sociology) and PhD student Eiko Strader consider the implications of data results from countries with the most skewed ratios at birth in the world. A large proportion of this is due to sex-selective abortion practices, which occurs most commonly among poorer families in societies where boy children are given greater economic and social status than girl children. Despite the popular Western focus on Asia, the practice occurs in more European countries, most notably (if the data is accurate) in Liechtenstein which ranks top of the list.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 9/10/13. David Mednicoff (public policy), director of Middle Eastern studies, comments in this story about the current situation in Syria.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 9/10/13. In the wake of the September 7 football loss to Maine and some hyperbolic sports writing, John Stifler (economics) assures readers that UMass Amherst is still teaching classes, offering degrees and conducting business as usual.

Washington Post, 9/7/13. Peter Skott (economics) is quoted in an analysis in the Washington Post of “New Keynesians” and “Old Keynesians” and how their views of the current U.S. economy differ.

WFCR, 9/6/13. A news story on how local colleges are changing the way they handle cases of reported rape includes comments from Lynn Phillips (communication). The issue gained prominence last fall after a former Amherst College student criticized the school for how it handled her report of being raped on campus.   

Washington Post, 9/3/13. A blogger cites the views of Charli Carpenter (political science) on the legal issues surrounding Syria’s alleged use of banned chemical weapons and a possible U.S. military strike., 9/1/13 [sorry, link is no longer available]. Dean Robert Feldman comments in a story about whether it is permissible to lie. He says his research shows that most people tell small lies on a regular basis.

Boston Globe, 9/1/13;, 9/2/13. A new opinion survey done by the UMass Poll and The Boston Globe finds that 90% of eastern Massachusetts residents believe Boston has improved in the past two decades. They feel safe in the city and race relations have gotten much better. Raymond La Raja (political science), associate director of the poll, says the results show that Boston is viewed as “the cultural and intellectual center of the region” and that the upcoming mayoral election is very important.

The Real News Network, 8/13/13. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, discusses the national minimum wage and why it is the lowest among wealthy countries. Research he and his colleagues have conducted shows that raising the minimum wage boosts low-wage workers’ buying power, doesn’t cause large-scale job losses, and doesn’t lead to large price increases. Dollars & Sense, July/August 2013. Pollin discusses the work he, colleague Michael Ash and graduate student Thomas Herndon did, relative to the now infamously debunked Reinhart-Rogoff study, that shows that austerity policies for the U.S. economy don’t work.

Real News Network, 8/26/13. While increased aid to Africa is only a small fraction of resources, donors attempt to take credit for Africa's economic euphoria, says economist Léonce Ndikumana in this interview with the Real News Network., 8/26/13; Oregon Live, 8/26/13; Oregon Public Broadcasting, 8/22/13. Michael Ash and James Boyce (economics), who each year compile a listing of “Toxic 100 Air Polluters," comment about how they determined that Precision Castparts, of Portland, Ore., is the top industrial air polluter in the U.S. The company’s U.S. operations release 110,000 pounds of toxic air pollution, which includes chemicals that are among the most toxic.

Boston Globe Magazine, 8/25/13. An article about the eight most interesting online courses in the region featured “Building a Basic Website,” the first MOOC at UMass that was developed and taught this past summer by Brian McDermott (journalism).

WBUR, 8/21/13. Joya Misra (sociology and public policy) discusses her research on the high cost of child care and “the motherhood penalty,” which occurs when women, who often earn less than men in the same occupations, drop out of the workforce to care for children and then cannot re-enter the job market at the same level of pay. A key driver of this phenomenon is the high cost of childcare, when it is available. Misra also notes that costly childcare isn’t just a problem for lower-income families, but also is critical for middle- and upper-middle class couples. New York Times, 8/17/13. An opinion piece references Misra’s research on “the motherhood penalty.”

A Word from SBS

This e-letter has been created for alumni and friends of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SBS includes the degree-granting departments and programs of Anthropology, CommunicationEconomics, Journalism, Labor Studies, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Resource Economics, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. Among our ranks are 38,600 alumni, 3,700 undergraduate majors, and 560 graduate students. In addition to its departments, SBS is home to numerous centers and research institutions. Through the general education courses that SBS offers, the College’s 200 faculty members teach one quarter of the nearly 20,000 undergraduates on campus in any given semester.

Gifts from alumni and friends are vital to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Your investment allows us to create remarkable opportunities for today’s—and tomorrow's—students. If you are already a donor, please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please consider a gift to SBS for your department, financial aid, a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities, or an unrestricted designation. To make a gift online, click here. Or, send a check to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Draper Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 40 Campus Center Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9244. Questions? Contact James Mallet, 413.577.1700.

We welcome feedback related to this newsletter, the college in general, specific concerns, or topics of interest. Please address all correspondence, including story ideas, to Sabine Cray, director of communications and marketing. If you wish to add your name to the mailing list, or if you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us. If you have had a change of address, email or other personal information, you can update it online. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences respects your privacy. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone unrelated to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.