Corrales Speculates on Succession in Venezuela

Submitted on Tuesday, 5/8/2012, at 11:41 AM

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

Submitted on Wednesday, 4/25/2012, at 10:50 AM

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"

Submitted on Tuesday, 4/24/2012, at 2:21 PM

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

Submitted on Tuesday, 4/24/2012, at 9:59 AM

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

Submitted on Monday, 4/23/2012, at 2:36 PM

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

Submitted on Tuesday, 4/24/2012, at 2:17 PM

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

Submitted on Tuesday, 4/24/2012, at 2:13 PM

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.


Fred Venne on the Warm Winter

Submitted on Friday, 4/13/2012, at 12:20 PM

Springfield (MA) television station WWLP-22 spoke with Fred Venne, educator at the Beneski Museum of Natural History, for his perspective on the warm winter we just experienced. He wouldn't call this a shift in the climate but rather an extreme temperature change that will continue into the summer months:

"Heading into the summer with a very dry potential we don't have a lot of water retained, we have no snowfall, we are going to have a fairly dry start to the summer. Whether or not they are going to bring in more rain, it's going to be that jet stream and how the oceans impact the jet stream,” he said.


Stavans on Hispanics, Native Countries, and George Zimmerman

Submitted on Friday, 4/6/2012, at 3:34 PM

The Associated Press recently spoke with Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, for a story about a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center, which concluded that a majority of Hispanics prefer to identify themselves according to their families’ countries of origin, rather than by the government’s suggested terms “Hispanic” or “Latino.” Stavans, who explores the complexities of Hispanic identity in his recent book What Is la Hispanidad? cited the confusion over the ethnic identity of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in February. Police and early media reports described Zimmerman as white, but Zimmerman’s mother is Hispanic, which his defenders cited when called to answer allegations of racial profiling.

“It seems to me that the whole identity of George Zimmerman is really an expression how modern individual American identity has all these many facets. If I were to say where he belongs, I’d say he belongs right at the center of where America is today,” Stavans said.


“A New Test of Leadership”—Chronicle of Higher Ed Profiles Biddy Martin

Amherst College President Biddy Martin was recently the subject of an exhaustive front page profile in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The piece, a thorough and balanced account of her transition from the University of Wisconsin at Madison to Amherst, was the result of Amherst College providing reporter Jack Stripling with access to the college and its inner workings, including a meeting of the Committee of Six.

A New Test of Leadership” (PDF)

audioPodcast interview with reporter Jack Stripling