“The lesson we’ve learned over these last 10, 15 years is no matter how good your [crisis management] plan is, it’s always going to fall short,” says Sunil Dasgupta in today’s Gazette.
Dasgupta, director of UMBC’s political science program at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) and non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, is co-teaching a crisis management class at USG. The point of the course, he explains, is not to prepare for specific disasters, but to get students thinking about how to build resilience and make decisions in catastrophic situations that they cannot fully plan for or predict. Although many students in the course have not yet selected majors, Dasgupta says he hopes some of them will explore careers in crisis management.
Amy Froide, Associate Professor of History, has won a short term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library for 2013-14 for a project on gender and accounting in early modern Britain.
Nohemi Voglozin, a doctoral candidate in Geography and Environmental Systems, is the recipient of Biodiversity International’s 2013 Vavilov-Frankel Fellowship (only two are awarded annually). The award of $20,000 is to support research related to the conservation and use of genetic resources in developing countries. This is Voglozin’s second prestigious fellowship since coming to UMBC in 2007–she won the Norman Borlaug Leadership in Agricultural Program (LEAP) Fellowship in 2008.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley today signed a bill banning the sale of assault weapons, limiting magazines to 10 bullets, requiring handgun purchasers to submit fingerprints and get a license, and creating penalties for people who don’t notify police when their firearms are lost or stolen. The Baltimore Sun reports that gun control advocates are now planning Baltimore-area TV ads to bolster support among Maryland voters, in case of a future referendum or campaigns to oust lawmakers who backed the bill in the General Assembly.
This ad buy begs the question: Could Maryland’s anti-gun control community gather enough support to change course in the state? The NRA’s threats “scared the pants off Congress,” says Donald F. Norris, professor and chair of public policy at UMBC. But, he clarifies, the national stage and state are different matters.
Asked about potential efforts to remove legislators who supported the gun control bill, Norris noted, “Whether that will work in Maryland, I’m not so sure. My gut tells me no. They might be able to knock off a few people, but I think it’s very much a long shot.”
In his latest opinion column for the Baltimore Sun, UMBC political science professor Thomas F. Schaller takes on accusations surrounding the recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security purchase of large quantities of ammunition (up to 1.6 billion rounds in some reports)—including claims that the Obama administration is arming itself while simultaneously trying to disarm the citizenry through gun control legislation.
In researching the purchase, Schaller found:
It turns out the order is closer to 750 million rounds and covers a five-year period and the 70,000 federal officers who require firearm certification or retraining. That’s roughly 2,200 rounds per officer per year; recreational gun users often dispense several hundred rounds during a single firing range visit.
Schaller concludes that this “scandal” is more conspiracy than legitimate critique of government overreach. He suggests that gun advocates would benefit from ignoring such distractions and instead focusing on what he identifies as real examples of government abuse of power, or addressing the risks that can come with gun ownership.
The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture is pleased to present the 2013 Senior Exit Exhibition opening in the CADVC, Tuesday, May 21. A free opening reception will take place on the 21st from 5 to 7 pm.
This exhibition reflects the interdisciplinary orientation and the technological focus of the Department of Visual Arts, and provides the opportunity for undergraduate seniors to exhibit within a professional setting prior to exiting the university.
The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and is located in the Fine Arts Building. Admission is free and open to the public.
The Senior Exit Exhibition continues through Friday, June 7.
Image by Lauren DeMarsh.
Economics professor Scott Farrow is co-author and co-editor, with Richard Zerbe, Jr., of the new book, Principles and Standards for Benefit-Cost Analysis (Edward Elgar Publishing 2013). The book website notes:
Benefit–cost analysis informs which policies or programs most benefit society when implemented by governments and institutions around the world. This volume brings together leading researchers and practitioners to recommend strategies and standards to improve the consistency and credibility of such analyses, assisting analysts of all types in achieving a greater uniformity of practice.
Reviewer John D. Graham of Indiana University writes, “This book is a superb textbook treatment of benefit-cost analysis. It is well designed for students in public policy, public administration, public health, social work, environmental affairs, law and business.”
Larry DeWitt, public policy Ph.D. student and former public historian for the U.S. Social Security Administration, has published the new book The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy (Cornell University Press 2013) written with co-author Edward D. Berkowitz.
The book offers a comprehensive history of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), from its origins in 1972 as part of President Nixon’s social reform efforts to its pivotal role in the politics of the Clinton administration.
Reviewer Christopher D. Howard (College of William & Mary) writes, “Calling The Other Welfare one of the best histories of a U.S. social program would be true, but that would not be strong enough praise…Edward D. Berkowitz and Larry DeWitt take a relatively unknown social program and make its history seem absolutely central to the history of U.S. social policy.”
Stress Testing the USA: Public Policy and Reaction to Disaster Events, a new book by professor of public policy John Rennie Short, arrives in stores tomorrow!
Stress testing is a procedure, common to fields from medicine to engineering, that is used to reveal a system’s weaknesses. In his new book, Short applies this concept to analyzing four serious traumas the United States experienced at the start of the 21st century: the invasion of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the financial meltdown, and the BP oil spill.
In Stress Testing the USA (Palgrave MacMillan), Short identifies specific structural flaws with the potential to fracture our nation: a large, active military that promotes a state of permanent war; an aging physical infrastructure with bridges and roads that receive failing grades; financial and corporate deregulation; and a blind acceptance of institutions’ increasingly risky behavior.
Identifying these systemic problems clarifies a broader concern for Short: our tendency to sideline unpopular perspectives or more subtle voices that might alert us to possible threats. “For every event there was a small group of people who new exactly what was happening,” says Short, “we just didn’t listen to them. So the point of the book is we should be more careful and more attentive to alternative, dissident voices.”
His book website notes, “Illuminating and relevant, Stress Testing the USA is a guide to what ails the United States and what needs to be done to fix it that proves essential to any scholar of public policy, current affairs, or disaster management.”
Theodore Gonzalves, associate professor and chair of American Studies, has been named a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution for 2013, where he will work with the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
Gonzalves’ project, “Singing Truth to Power: The Story of Paredon Records,” traces the cultural history of a record label whose output of recorded music and speeches documented revolutionary movements throughout the globe. According to the collection’s finding aid, the label’s 50 record albums constitute a unique historical documentation of the political protest and revolutionary currents in the world over the course of three decades. Thirty-one of the fifty albums come from national liberation movements represented in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
The Smithsonian has been supporting study and research in a variety of ways, including fellowships from predoctoral to postdoctoral scholars, since its founding in 1846. The number of senior postdoctoral fellows selected each year ranges from four to 10, making this one of the institution’s most competitive awards. The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution promoting the understanding and continuity of diverse, contemporary grassroots cultures in the United States and around the world.
Gonzalves’ research and creative work has received previous support with a Fulbright Senior Scholar award, a Moeson fellowship at the Library of Congress, a Meet the Composer grant, and other awards from humanities councils in Maryland and Hawai‘i.