Sarat's Research on Botched Executions
Science Daily picked up the story that three percent of the executions carried out in this country have been botched in some fashion, a conclusion based upon the work of Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, and a team of undergraduate researchers. Sarat recently spoke about the project at Reunion Weekend 2012.
Stavans on the passing of Carlos Fuentes
After Mexican novelist and essayist Carlos Fuentes died May 15 at the age of 83, National Public Radio and PBS turned to Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, for perspective. He told NPR’s Robert Siegel, “He liked to see Mexico in epic tones and with a very broad brush and scope of things. He used history as the main engine that drove Mexico…The issue of identity for him was crucial. He was forthcoming in the idea that Mexicans were always looking for a collective identity, and he could help them dig in and shape that identity in a clearer fashion.”
Bethune on a Brighter Economy
Brian A. Bethune, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, recently weighed in on hiring surges and unemployment drops reported by the U.S. Labor Department. Noting reports that the United States added 243,000 jobs in January, Bethune told the Associated Press, “This is a very positive employment report from almost any angle.”
Corrales Speculates on Succession in Venezuela
Political Science Professor Javier Corrales weighed in on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently making appointments to Venezuela’s Council of State: "There are no surprising names here," he told CNN. He said that it remains unclear whether a successor to the ailing Chavez might be picked from this powerful group. "Anything is possible," Corrales said. He suggested a hypothetical scenario in which Chavez might remain president, but delegate power to the council.
Mead Director Discusses Mellon Endowment Grant
The Daily Hampshire Gazette spoke with Elizabeth Barker, director of the Mead Art Museum, about news that the museum is receiving a $1,000,000 Endowment Challenge Grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This grant will allow Amherst to endow its Coordinator of College Programs position, which is dedicated to best integrating the college's art collection with curriculum. As a condition of the grant, Amherst College has committed to raise a minimum of $1,000,000 within three years. The college seeks to raise an additional $500,000 to underwrite the museum-based academic programs, which engage 90 percent of Amherst's student body each year. "Making visual literacy part of the learning experience really brings a new dimension to the classroom," Barker said. "It has a way of sticking in students' minds that goes beyond a lecture or a traditional seminar ... and the questions students come up when they look at a piece of art can really give us a new way of looking at our own collection."
Kansas City: Douglas has a "Lovely Sense of Humor"
Andrea Kempf, a retired librarian writing for the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, gave a thumbs-up for The Vices, by Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. “This elegant witty novel is a delight to read,” she wrote. “[Douglas] has come to fiction late, but his novels are all the better for his maturity and in addition he also has a lovely sense of humor. I would seriously recommend this novel for book clubs.”
Joel Gordon Builds a Better Stylus
The Daily Hampshire Gazette spoke with Joel Gordon, professor emeritus of physics, about his manufacturing a low-cost stylus for use with touch-screen devices such as the iPad or iPhone. He’s selling them for $5 each, with all the proceeds to benefit the Amherst Senior Center. Gordon is chairman of the town’s Council on Aging.
Huffpost: Biddy Tweets
Amherst College President Biddy Martin recently got a nod from Huffington Post blogger Amanda Walgrove for being among an emerging population of college presidents who have Twitter accounts. “The territory is wide open for educational higher-ups to incorporate social strategy into how they inform and engage with large groups of people, especially when they oversee young, often digitally savvy constituencies,” wrote Walgrove, who is the research assistant to Sarah Lawrence College President Karen Lawrence. Biddy Martin and Lawrence got mentions along with Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun, Rice University President David Leebron, and Tufts University President Anthony Monaco. If nothing else, college presidents should join Twitter to keep up with students engaging in parody of them, Walgrove wrote.
Alexander George Checkmates
Philosophy professor Alexander George was profiled alongside other chess mavens for a Valley Advocate piece about a recent Western Massachusetts Chess Association tournament at the Alumni House: “Their knights had been hooking around the center squares for nearly 30 minutes—positioning, threatening, retreating, repositioning—when suddenly George broke through. He slid his rook off to the side, freeing up a critical spot in [opponent Gaetano ] Bonpastore's back left corner, and then advanced his knight forward, forking his opponent's rooks and gaining a critical advantage. The game continued for another 15 or 20 moves, but George was in control. When the checkmate finally came, Bonpastore barked, "Spectacle's over," and stormed out of the room.”
Zajonc with the Mind & Life Institute
The Daily Hampshire Gazette recently spoke with physics professor Arthur Zajonc in his role as the new president of the Dalai Lama-affiliated Mind & Life Institute, which has relocated from Colorado to Hadley. He said the institute is seeking to create a research center for visiting scholars near the Amherst College campus. Zajonc first met the Dalai Lama through former Amherst College professor Robert Thurman, the first Westerner ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk.