Dole on Billy Graham's Legacy

Submitted on Friday, 3/16/2018, at 1:26 PM

Could there be another Rev. Billy Graham? Andrew Dole, Amherst College professor of religion, marked the passing of the evangelist by pondering, in a column for The Conversation, the historical and sociological forces that brought about Graham’s rise as the pastor to presidents.

“It is true that Graham did not single-handedly rescue evangelicalism from fundamentalism, but his contribution remains unmatched,” Dole wrote.

“Success in the business of reviving evangelicalism will require more in the way of personal qualities than just integrity, charisma and good preaching: It will require a deep bench of supporters, whether persons or institutions, capable of withstanding criticism,” he concluded.

Talking Litfest 2018

Submitted on Friday, 3/16/2018, at 1:15 PM

Media accounts of Litfest 2018 included coverage of Junot Diaz’s talk by the Daily Collegian and an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette about the talk given by Masha Gessen, John J. McCloy '16 Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy and author of the new The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, and her brother Keith Gessen, author and co-founder of n+1 literary magazine.

The article included a followup to a more lighthearted part of the event, when Keith Gessen took a question from, and gushed about, his high school newspaper advisor, George Abbot White, who drove out from Boston to see the talk. The paper tracked down White for his thoughts.

“All I cared about was that they take things seriously and do something good for the world,” White said about his teaching days.

#NeverAgain Protests and Admissions

Submitted on Friday, 3/16/2018, at 10:08 AM

Pieces in Newsweek and Mother Jones referenced a February 25 Facebook post by the College’s Office of Admission and Financial Aid about the #NeverAgain movement, declaring “First Amendment rights are among the most prized of Amherst’s values and the college encourages all students to engage in civil and meaningful discourse on issues of critical importance.”

In the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, high school students across the country are holding protests under the banner of #NeverAgain, including a mass walkout from schools March 14. 

In response to some high schools announcing that students staging walkouts or other protests would be disciplined, a growing number of institutions, including Amherst College, have responded that engaging in peaceful protest won’t capsize a student’s college application.

“The Office of Admission, will, as always, consider the unique circumstances of any reported disciplinary action related to civic engagement,” the Facebook post stated. “Peaceful protest has never been a reason for a student to be denied admission or to have an offer be rescinded.”

Connecting with Ray Suarez

Submitted on Wednesday, 3/7/2018, at 10:59 AM

Ray Suarez, the John J. McCloy ’16 Visiting Professor of American Studies, recently appeared on WGBY57’s program “Connecting Point,” joining with host Carrie Saldo in a discussion covering teaching, fake news, reporting in the social media age, and more. 

Tracking the Skyrmion

Submitted on Wednesday, 3/7/2018, at 10:59 AM

Interest in Physics Professor David S. Hall’s work with the skyrmion has taken off like, well, lightening.

Hall, members of his student research team and his collaborators at Aalto University in Finland recently created a three-dimensional skyrmion—a quasiparticle consisting of a knotted configuration of atomic magnetic moments, or spins—in a quantum gas in Hall’s lab. Scientists predicted the existence of the skyrmion theoretically more than 40 years ago, but this is the first time such an object, exhibiting the properties of ball lightning,  has been observed in an experiment.

The experiment has attracted the attention of Science, Gizmodo, and other science-related news services.

Sonya Clark '89 on "Unraveling"

Submitted on Thursday, 3/1/2018, at 12:24 PM

“I wanted to make a piece that sort of acknowledged how far we’ve come in some way or another … and how slow the progress has been,” Visiting Artist-in-Residence Sonya Clark ’89 told the Boston Globe, for a piece about her Feb. 21 Mead Art Museum performance of “Unraveling,” in which she and other participants slowly unravelled a Confederate flag.

Diverse: Amherst Noted for Mellon Initiative

Submitted on Thursday, 3/1/2018, at 12:20 PM

Diverse recently published a piece about the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarding Amherst College a prestigious $500,000 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program grant to fund an initiative to attract and better serve students from underrepresented groups.

“The goal of MMUF is compatible with Amherst, a renowned liberal arts institution with a highly diverse student body,” wrote Diverse. “At present, 44 percent of U.S. students at Amherst identify as students of color. One of the school’s chief principles is that liberal arts education develops individuals with deep understanding of the world and the possibility to create positive change through innovation and critical thinking.”

Chronicle: Amherst a Top Producer of Fulbrights

Submitted on Thursday, 3/1/2018, at 12:16 PM

Amherst College once again gets a nod from The Chronicle of Higher Education, in its annual list of institutions producing the largest number of Fulbright scholars. Thirteen Amherst students were awarded Fulbrights for 2017-2018.

Parham on Race and the Digital Humanities

Submitted on Thursday, 3/1/2018, at 12:14 PM

“My earliest experiences with computers and devices mainly stemmed from my grandfather’s obsession with Kaypros in the 1980s,” Professor of English Marisa Parham told DML Central, for part of a series of articles about last fall’s conference “Race, Memory, And The Digital Humanities” at the College of William and Mary. In the piece, she reminisces about her grandfather’s interest in computers and his support helped spark her own interest.

She spoke with DML Central about how support is essential for students of color interested in the digital humanities.

“Underrepresented students must be taught strategies to make sure they are able to develop and pursue their academic imagination,” she said. “My sense is that many students interested in college are not really sure what it is for. Being underrepresented amplifies this, especially because being underrepresented means that you are constantly at risk of your dreams not being represented in the options presented to you. You will likely literally never see a future version of yourself. Or, at worst, you’ll never have access to the tools to imagine, identify, and pursue options.”

The Bottom-Line Benefits of Conservation

Submitted on Thursday, 3/1/2018, at 12:12 PM

For a recent story about Chile designating 10 million acres of national parks as conservation land, The Huffington Post spoke with Katherine Sims, associate professor of economics, about her research into the positive economic effects of land conservation.

“Sims’ research has compared local communities living next to protected areas in both Thailand and Costa Rica with similar communities living far from parks. What she found surprised even her and bucked conventional wisdom: Poverty levels were lower for the people living near parks,” wrote HuffPo columnist Jeremy Hance.

“Her research shows that economic benefits from the park – tourism, increased infrastructure and the overspill of ecosystem services – outweighed the restriction placed on exploiting natural resources.”