Boston Globe: Amherst College Poli Sci Class in Local Prison

Submitted by Paul S. Statt
Unlearning Preconceptions
The Boston Globe, May 17
"Anthony Jack and Jude Mischke took vastly different paths to get to their Amherst College political science course this semester.

Jack-a 22-year-old senior toting paper, pen, and textbooks-boarded a school van with classmates last week for the final class and chatted about exams and summer plans.

Mischke, 38, wrapped up recreation time in the prison yard at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction. He showered, dressed in dark, prison-provided blue shirt and pants, and grabbed his schoolwork from his cell.

He and Jack met in the jail's visiting room, where inmates and students from three area colleges sat in alternate chairs. Their professor was Kristin Bumiller of Amherst College , who was teaching one of two courses in the Pioneer Valley to bring together the colleges' students and inmates as equals.

At a time when prisons across the state lack federal or state funding for college-degree programs, Bumiller and Simone Davis, an English professor at Mount Holyoke College, are establishing several courses involving inmates and students in the region's five colleges, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Amherst, and Hampshire."

Two Hours of Freedom (Five College Ink)

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

Science Made Cool: Curious Footprints

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Curious Footprints
Science Made Cool, May 14

"Despite its title, Curious Footprints: Professor Hitchcock’s Dinosaur Tracks & Other Natural History Treasures at Amherst College is not a traditional exhibit-by-exhibit guidebook for Amherst College’s Museum of Natural History. Instead, it’s a companion book that gives the reader a tiny taste of the museum’s long history and its behind-the-scenes contents."

Amherst College Press

New York Times: Psychology Professor Sanderson Stresses Teaching

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Teaching vs. Research
The New York Times, May 15

"To the editor:

As a professor at Amherst College, I was delighted to hear that Harvard is taking steps to increase the emphasis placed on teaching by its faculty (“Harvard Task Force Calls for New Focus on Teaching and Not Just Research,” news article, May 10). But trying to increase the quality of teaching without de-emphasizing a focus on research is an impossible goal.

Why? Because good teaching takes time — time to plan and prepare for classes, time to grade papers and exams, time to meet with students outside of class, and so on.

I spend a lot of time teaching my students, and each moment that I spend on teaching is a moment that I’m not spending on research.

And unless Harvard, and other similar institutions, make a decision to decrease the emphasis placed on research, any focus on improving the quality of day-to-day teaching in the classroom is doomed to fail.

Catherine Sanderson
Amherst, Mass., May 11, 2007
The writer is an associate professor and chairwoman of the department of psychology at Amherst College."

Faculty Profile of Catherine Sanderson 


New York Times: Harvard Teaching Needs to be as Good as Amherst

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Harvard Task Force Calls for New Focus on Teaching and Not Just Research

New York Times, May 10
Nine prominent professors are leading an effort to rethink the culture of undergraduate teaching and learning at Harvard.

“It’s well known that there are many other colleges where students are much more satisfied with their academic experience,” said Paul Buttenwieser, a psychiatrist and author who is a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, and who favors the report. “Amherst is always pointed to. Harvard should be as great at teaching as Amherst.”

The New York Times: Rieckhoff '98 Says Iraq is an Invisible War

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

An Invisible War
The New York Times, May 3

" Paul Rieckhoff looked across the crowded restaurant, which was not far from Times Square. “During World War II,” he said, “we could be in this place and there would be a guy sitting at that table who was in the war, or the bartender had been in the war. Everybody you saw would have had a stake in the war. But right now you could walk around New York for blocks and not find anybody who has been in Iraq.

“The president can say we’re a country at war all he wants. We’re not. The military is at war. And the military families are at war. Everybody else is shopping.”

Mr. Rieckhoff is an imposing six-foot-two-inch, 245-pound former infantry officer who joined the military after graduating from Amherst College. When he came home from a harrowing tour in Iraq in 2004, he vowed to do what he could to serve the interests of the men and women who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan but have never fully gotten the support they deserve from the government or the public at large. "

Chasing Ghosts

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America


New York Times: Disturbing Writing Doesn't Imply a Disturbed Writer

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Deciding When Student Writing Crosses the Line
The New York Times, May 2

" In the wake of the Virginia Tech killings, creative writing teachers across the country have been wondering what they would have done if the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, had been writing troubling stories in their classrooms. Perhaps no other teaching position offers as intimate a perch into the hearts and minds of students — and poses as many difficulties. These teachers ask students to write stories that reflect the wider culture or their own interior life, and the picture is not always pretty.Teachers at colleges as different as Amherst, Marquette and the University of California at San Diego say students often depict scenes of violence or concoct narratives in which people hurt themselves. The students may be paying homage to favorite movies or mimicking the world around them. After all, these are children who grew up with Columbine, and many echo what Elizabeth Minkel, a senior in Alexander Chee’s writing class at Amherst, said: “I spent all of high school feeling someone could come into my class with a gun at any time.""


Boston Globe: Ilan Stavans Leaving PBS

Submitted by Paul S. Statt
The conversation starter
Boston Globe, May 1

From a story about "Maria Hinajosa: One-on-One" on PBS:

"From 2001 through last year, La Plaza had produced a similar show called "Conversations With Ilan Stavans." Producers decided to go in another direction, according to a WGBH spokeswoman, and Stavans, who has been openly critical of WGBH, said he too wanted to move on."It was a terrific five years. I loved doing the show," says Stavans, a professor of Latin American and Latino culture at Amherst College whose final guest on the show was Hinojosa. "As time went by, I became worried of the way PBS and WGBH were ghettoizing Latino issues. . . . I hope that Maria's show is successful, and I hope that people are starving for more in-depth [interviews], something that goes beyond what has been done and opens up our community at the higher level.""

Republican: Dog Day at the Dickinson Museum

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Museum celebrates poet's dog
The Republican, April 30

The animals might not understand her poetry, but dogs and their owners still came out for the first annual celebration of Emily Dickinson's dog Carlo. "This is the first time we've done a tribute to Carlo. Based on her letters and some of her poems we know Emily Dickinson loved Carlo very much," said Rachel Beanland, development and marketing manager for the Emily Dickinson Museum. The event was just a part of the two-day celebration of National Poetry Month called "A Little Madness in the Spring."

Daily Hampshire Gazette: Amherst College Cops are Armed

Submitted by Paul S. Statt
Arming police on campus: Colleges divided on deadly force
Daily Hampshire Gazette, April 26

Although police on some area campuses carry firearms, other colleges have decided that arming public safety officers is not a way to make their campuses safer. At both Amherst College and the significantly larger University of Massachusetts, police officers have had firearms for many years, but Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges all have resisted the concept. Amherst College Police Chief John Carter said that allowing his officers to carry firearms means that the campus can offer a full police response." Amherst College has chosen to provide the highest level of protection to our community and, therefore, has armed, sworn police," said Carter.

Amherst College Campus Police

USN&WR: Reading the Abortion Ruling with Hadley Arkes

Submitted by Paul S. Statt

Reading the Abortion Ruling
U.S. News & World Report, April 30

"Even before the decision, Amherst College political scientist Hadley Arkes had argued that such a ruling would be a first step toward ending the regime of Roe:"What the court would be saying in effect is, 'We are now in business to consider seriously, and to sustain, many plausible measures that impose real restrictions on abortion.'"