The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Professor Peter M. Haas, who joined the Department of Political Science in September 1986, is retiring after 35.5 years on the faculty. He is known globally for his work on questions of global environmental governance and the politics of bringing scientific expertise to bear in multilateral negotiations. His pioneering work in these areas was recognized by the International Studies Association's Environmental Studies Section in 2014 with its Distinguished Scholar Award.

Legal Studies major Edward Lew (expected graduation ’22), has just co-authored a book with Harvard School of Medicine Professor Matthew H. Liang titled "Halsted R. Holman and the Struggle for the Soul of Medicine" to be published in March by Cambridge Scholars Press in Newcastle UK. This book describes the major changes in American medicine and healthcare that took place during 100 years of efforts to deliver the fruits of biomedical science to all. The story is told through the life of Halsted Reid Holman, an icon in American academic medicine and arguably one of the most notable academic leaders in the US. His story is extraordinary, human, and inspiring.

Kira Tait was recently awarded a 2021 APSA Diversity and Inclusion Research Advancement Grant. Earlier this week she also formally accepted a tenured track job in public law at the University of San Diego’s Department of Political Science and International Relations to begin in Fall 2022. Congratulations, Kira! You can send congratulations to Kira using

Jesse Rhodes, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Poll Director, is quoted about the differing political perspectives on the insurrection. Rhodes says a disturbing underlying trend is the dip in the number of people who think Jan. 6 participants should be prosecuted. “There we're not just talking about how we describe things or what happened, but whether we want to learn from what happened and take steps to prevent such things from happening again. And that's what I think is really troubling,” he says. (The Hill, 01/06/2022)

A new UMass Poll shows President Joe Biden’s approval rating declining as he approaches a year in office, with 53% of respondents disapproving of his performance and 41% approving. This is a drop from the 51% approval in a UMass Poll taken in April 2021, two months into his term. “The honeymoon is officially over – as the nation inches closer to marking a year of the Biden presidency, a minority of voters approve of the job that Joe Biden has done as president,” says Tatishe Nteta, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the poll. (The Boston Globe, WCVB [Boston], 1/11/22; News Office release)

PhD Candidate Amber Vayo has been awarded a $12,000 Dissertation Grant from the UMass Graduate School for her Dissertation entitled, "'No One Would Listen to Me': Right Consciousness and Institutional Betrayal in Childbirth."

In a recent analysis for The Washington Post, Alexander Theodoridis, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Lane Cuthbert, PhD student in Political Science, find that many Republicans genuinely believe that Biden fraudulently won the 2020 election. "Republican respondents consistently tell pollsters that they doubt the legitimacy of Biden's election. Apparently, that's a genuinely held belief." (Washington Post, 01/07/2022)

Amhel Ahmed, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Provost for Equity and Inclusion, along with two other scholars asked to discuss the ramifications of the Capitol attack and where we are as a society one year later. “There are always forces within the political system that would be fine taking power by force rather than through the electoral process,” she says. “Where I would focus my attention is on the much greater number of individuals who aren't necessarily stuck in that position but have that doubt planted in their head — because that’s where you get numbers giving air to these conspiracy theories and giving air to a narrative that really delegitimizes the mechanisms [of democracy and elections].” (WBUR All Things Considered, 1/6/22)

There is ongoing coverage of recent UMass Poll findings reporting voter opinions on the 2020 and 2024 elections, the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and other issues. (Public News Service, 1/7/22; News Office releaseThe New York Times, 1/6/22; Public News ServiceThe Washington Post, 1/7/22; NewsweekThe Nevada Independent, 1/9/22; News Office release)

There is ongoing coverage of findings from new UMass Amherst Polls reporting views on a variety of issues including election reforms, the 2020 and 2024 presidential elections and last year’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A Dec. 28 poll found more than half of Americans believe some political leaders oppose their right to vote and 71% of Republicans – and one-third of the nation – believe that President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 was illegitimate. 

A poll released today looking at voter preferences in the 2024 presidential election and found that Democrats favor Biden, followed by Senator Bernie Sanders, Vice President Kamala Harris and Senator Elizabeth Warren, while Republicans polled favor former President Donald Trump, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence.  (WCVB, WCVB,, 1/5/22; The Boston Globe, 1/4/22; News Office release, News Office release)