The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Since 1961, the University of Massachusetts has presented the Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA) to instructors who demonstrate exemplary teaching at the highest institutional level. This campus-wide honor is the only student-initiated award on campus. Leah Wing, senior lecturer of legal studies, received this award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Congratulations to Leah Wing!

On March 1st, 2019 Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the appointment of Stefanie Costa Leabo as the city's new Chief Data Officer (CDO) to lead the Analytics Team within the Department of Innovation and Technology. Stefanie is a graduate of UMass Amherst with a B.A. in Political Science and History. “Data doesn't tell the entire story but it can be a really useful tool in the toolbox to make sure what you're doing is leading you on the right track” said Costa Leabo ‘10. “It's really important to increase access to data and make sure people have the information that their own programs are generating." 

Professor Rowen ​has spent the past four years studying veterans with substance use and mental health disorders in the criminal justice system. "This work revealed gaps in health care and financial support for veterans, even though they have the best publicly funded benefits in the country", she said. In this article, Professor Rowen cites the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on veteran homelessness, lack of health care, delay in receiving financial support, and even death.

Congratulations to Timothy Pachirat, whose book, Every Twelve Seconds, was selected by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the "Best Scholarly Books of the Decade."

Professor Raymond La Raja is quoted in an article examining the fundraising efforts of Amy McGrath, the Democratic challenger to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell. “It’s a high profile race, McConnell is the second most powerful Republican and Democrats intensely dislike him,” La Raja says. “It is a national race that attracts small donors.”

Scott Blinder, political science, is quoted in an article on how the presidential election may be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and how voters may view President Trump and Joe Biden’s responses to the crisis.

Timothy Scalona, an undergraduate senior in the Department of Political Science, recently published a thoughtful and moving mediation on the COVID-19 crisis and graduation in the Boston Globe: "Morning Senior Year 2020: As we approach summer and a recession, graduating seniors face further job insecurity. Anxiety replaces the joy of senior year as we fight to find balance without resources." 

Professor Charli Carpenter's recent article in Foreign Policy advocates for a national civilian draft to combat COVID-19.

Professor Regine Spector has been selected as a 2020-21 Institute for Social Science Research Scholar. Her project title is "Ambiguities of Renewable Energy: Rethinking Electricity Markets, Green Development and Sustainability in Massachusetts." (Co-Scholar Eve Vogel). 

Ray La Raja, political science and associate director of the UMass Amherst/WCVB Poll, is quoted in an article examining the possible future of the democratic socialism movement championed by Bernie Sanders. By failing to gain the Democratic Party nomination for president, La Raja says Sanders can continue “being this vehicle for their movement and espousing these principles and pulling the Democratic Party left.”

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