Dean Poiger

Letter from the Dean Archive


2013-14: January 2014 / December 2013 / October/November 2013September 2013

2012-13: May 2013 / March 2013 / January 2013 / December 2012

 

Letter from the Dean

January 31, 2014

Dear CSSH Faculty, Staff, and Students:

The spring semester has gotten off to a fast start, and CSSH students and faculty continue to take on impressive roles in public engagement. Just today economics doctoral candidate Rand Ghayad attends meetings with President Obama, top advisors, the secretary of labor, and business leaders at the White House to discuss how the country can deal with the problem of long-term unemployment. Under the guidance of Department Chair and Distinguished University Professor Bill Dickens, this problem has been the focus of Ghayad’s widely reported doctoral research. Over the past year, Associate Dean for Research Jack McDevitt has chaired the Massachusetts State Gun Violence Committee, an initiative of House Speaker Robert DeLeo. On Monday, the committee will release its recommendations.

Another item of good news this week was that the Faculty Senate passed our new Master of Arts in International Affairs. An interdisciplinary group of faculty, most recently under the leadership of Director of International Affairs Valentine Moghadam, has crafted this innovative program. Once the Northeastern Board approves the proposal, we look forward to welcoming Northeastern Plus-One students, as well as others interested in becoming leaders in NGOs and international organizations, into the program.

Earlier this month, CSSH partnered with the School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project and the Humanities Center for “Slavery By Another Name: Uncovering the Untold Stories,” featuring Pulitzer-Prize winning author Douglas A. Blackmon. The evening interspersed compelling presentations about past violence and wrongful imprisonment of African Americans with riveting music. The program was a part of the 50 Years Forward series, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the 40th anniversary of our Department of African American Studies. Earlier in the day, Blackmon spoke to a group of students, entertaining questions about his investigative process. He asserted that aside from war, race is the single most important issue that has faced every American President. Blackmon and the other speakers of the evening made a strong case for the need to analyze and publicly acknowledge past injustice.

On February 6 and 7, in another key program of the  50 Years Forward series, Robert Hall, Interim Chair of the African American Studies Department, will host a two-day symposium in collaboration with the Humanities Center and multiple CSSH units. “How Far to the Promised Land?: Civil Rights Since Brown v. Board of Education,”  will feature a keynote lecture by award-winning historian and commentator Peniel E. Joseph,  Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University. The discussion continues on Friday with three engaging panels.

A very successful series this year, organized by the Humanities Center and the Department of Political Science, has focused on Controversial Issues in Security Studies. This week, Bruce Schneier, a leading author on secure technologies, held a lively discussion with over 200 students  on  “Power Play: Internet and Security in the Information Age,” and concluded that we are living in a “golden age of surveillance.”

Another exciting series this spring semester is the Myra Kraft Open Classroom presented by the School for Public Policy and Urban Affairs. This semester’s topic is “Water: Challenges of Extremes.” The Open Classroom faculty, who include Interim Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Joan Fitzgerald, Professor of Public Policy and Marine and Environmental Sciences Brian Helmuth, Associate Professor of Engineering Auroop Ganguly, and Professor of Law Lee Breckenridge, are very pleased to partner with the Museum of Science for a documentary screening of Last Call at the Oasis later this spring.

From the CSSH Dean’s Office, we have announced our third round of Dean’s Research Development Fund grants. Previous recipients have included Professor of Criminology and Sociology Ineke Marshall who used a Research Development Fund grant to conduct a pilot study on youth delinquency in the U.S., which paved the way to a large NSF-funded consortium grant.  Professor of English Janet Randall used research development funds for the Plain English Jury Instruction Project, in which she and a team of graduate and undergraduate students from varying disciplines work to understand how technical courtroom jargon may affect verdicts by confusing jurors. Professor Randall and Lucas Graf, a criminal justice and international affairs major, presented the group’s findings at the American Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting earlier this month.

I look forward to hearing about many more CSSH successes in research, teaching and public engagement, and to sharing at least some of them with you.

With best wishes for this spring semester, yours sincerely,

Uta G. Poiger
Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

 

Happy Holidays from Dean Poiger

December 20, 2013

Dear CSSH Faculty, Staff, and Students:

As this fall semester draws to a close, I would like to tell you about some of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities undergraduate students’ successes this year.

In 2013, we were honored to have both the Northeastern Commencement and Convocation student speakers come from our college. At last spring’s undergraduate Commencement, Miguel de Corral (International Affairs and Political Science) spoke about his Presidential Global Fellowship and working, studying, and serving in 16 different countries during his time at Northeastern. At this fall’s Presidential Convocation, Laura Mueller-Soppart (Economics and Political Science) eloquently recounted her experiences on campus, on co-op, and during a Dialogue on social entrepreneurship in South Africa; she told the incoming class that they can make their dreams come true at Northeastern.

Miguel’s and Laura’s paths are examples of the extraordinary combination of academic excellence and real-world experience that our majors pursue in the humanities and social sciences.

As the end of the calendar year nears, many CSSH students are reflecting on the co-op jobs that they are just completing while others are preparing for co-ops at organizations across the country and around the world. Anthropology major Jillian Chaffee will work as a manuscripts intern at the Library of Congress next semester, while a contingent of criminal justice students will apply their skillsets to co-op positions at Interpol. English major Kayla Allen will begin as an editorial assistant for National Geographic Learning this January, and international affairs and Asian studies double major Savannah Schwing will head to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Good luck to all of the students embarking on new co-op experiences this upcoming term; I look forward to hearing about the lessons learned and the knowledge gained.

Earlier this month, Terese Berger, a CSSH senior on co-op at WorldBoston, helped Assistant Professor of African American Studies Richard Wamai organize a World AIDS Day panel in partnership with the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Northeastern faculty from CSSH, Bouvé, and the Law School and visiting leaders representing countries ranging from Ghana to Bulgaria discussed their fights against HIV/AIDS. During an informal dinner following the panel, three CSSH students shared their co-op experiences from AIDS clinics in Africa, the Middle East, and the United States, sparking lively conversation with the distinguished international visitors. Our students were also insightful discussants during a one-day conference on “Drones and Killer Robots,” organized by Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Denise Garcia as part of the LoPorto Global Lecture Series and the college series on Controversial Issues in Security Studies.

You can read about the World AIDS Day panel, that Drones conference, and many other CSSH collaborations on our new college website, which we launched this fall. I encourage you to browse the website at your leisure, particularly the news and events sections. Of course, none of our events, our student and faculty successes, or for that matter, our website would happen without the behind-the-scenes work of our staff members in CSSH and at the university, and special thanks are due to them.

A big thank you also to all of our faculty members. Without their mentorship, scholarship, and teaching, our students’ accomplishments would be neither as extraordinary nor as numerous as they are. Our faculty’s dedication helps make possible the impressive and unique paths our students take while at Northeastern.

Wherever you are spending the winter break, I wish you safe and peaceful holidays. I look forward to seeing you again in the new year!

Yours sincerely,

Uta G. Poiger
Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

 

Letter from the Dean

November 12, 2013

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

This has been an exciting fall semester in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. CSSH faculty members are reaching a broad public with a wide array of projects. Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature Carla Kaplan has garnered national attention for her path-breaking new book Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance. On October 15, Northeastern served as the setting of the WCVB Channel 5 television broadcast of “Boston Strong: Reunited,” a tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing victims that was filmed in Blackman Auditorium. The event came about because of a collaboration between Channel 5 and the “Our Marathon” digital archive that is housed in our NULab for Texts, Maps and Networks. Co-director Elizabeth Dillon and Ryan Cordell are involving both graduate and undergraduate student researchers in the archive. Also in October, CSSH co-hosted the public launch of the Digital Public Library of America that brought over 500 guests from North America and Europe to Northeastern and provided a showcase for our work in the Digital Humanities and Computational Social Science. And ten days ago, CSSH faculty members Daniel Faber, Denise Horn, Valentine M. Moghadam, Kwamina Panford, Richard Wamai, and Sara Wylie helped over 1,000 college students from around the nation to think responsibly about sustainable development during the Millennium Campus Network Conference, which was held on the Northeastern campus for the second year in a row and co-sponsored by CSSH and the School for Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

Several faculty members in our college have recently been awarded major grants to pursue interdisciplinary research of global importance. Professor of Political Science and Director of our newly founded Center for Resilience Studies Steve Flynn (who also co-directs the Northeastern’s Kostas Institute for Homeland Security) has received a grant from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) to organize a two-day international workshop on developing standards, codes, and practices for bolstering the resilience of buildings, infrastructure, and communities. Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Denis Sullivan, who co-directs Northeastern’s Middle East Center, has been awarded a 24-month grant from the Carnegie Corporation to form the Boston Consortium for Arab Region Studies, which will bring together scholars and policy analysts from the Boston area, Beirut, and Cairo to promote greater understanding of the Arab Awakening through interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach. Funded by the French Railways, Professor of History and International Affairs Tim Cresswell is leading a two-year project that explores the ways fourteen cities in multiple countries across the globe, ranging from Canada and Norway to Brazil, envision transitions to more sustainable and often public forms of mobility.

Since this past summer, the value of a liberal arts education has been the subject of public debate following the release of a major report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Much of the controversy has centered on the perception of a lack of job prospects for liberal arts majors. Despite popular belief, there is much evidence in the report and subsequent commentaries that the humanities and social sciences provide a strong foundation for responsible citizenship and professional success. One of our newest faculty members Ben Schmidt, an assistant professor of history, has warned against exaggerating the crisis in humanities enrollments in a number of national venues. Last week, he was one of six national experts debating the “Fate of the Humanities” in a virtual roundtable in The New York Times feature “Room for Debate.” Studies indicate that liberal arts and humanities graduates perform well in the job market. Humanities and social sciences majors continue to be over represented among civic and business leaders in the United States and other countries. I have talked with a number of CSSH alumni working in leadership positions in the financial services, other businesses, or in high-level public service about their paths: they insist that their broad-based humanities and social science education combined with co-op laid the foundation for their success, while they acquired many industry-specific skills later in their careers. Northeastern University released its own survey this fall that shows that the majority of Americans – and an even higher proportion of hiring decision-makers – are looking for well-rounded graduates with the writing, communication, and analytical skills that the liberal arts foster.

Such reports affirm the values and skills that are crucial to our research and teaching mission in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, including critical inquiry, ethical reasoning, and appreciation for diversity. Among our CSSH majors, about 80% of undergraduate students participate in co-op, which provides students with important professional experiences and teaches them to adapt to new situations in workplaces from Boston to Sarajevo to Beijing. Such experiences are invaluable for the multiple paths that our graduates embark on over the course of their careers. We are also expanding experiential opportunities within the college, including research-focused co-ops, student-faculty research collaborations, and Dialogue of Civilizations programs. Recent graduates have shared in a video how beneficial the undergraduate research opportunities they had at Northeastern have been to them. During parents’ weekend, a number of faculty members and I had the opportunity to speak with many CSSH students and their families. I was delighted to hear how pleased parents are with their daughters’ and sons’ experiences at Northeastern and in our college.

As you can imagine, in this newsletter I am able to highlight only a small fraction of the accomplishments and activities of our CSSH students and faculty. I hope that these examples give you a sense of just how much our faculty, students, and alumni are “on the move.” It is a privilege to foster and participate in our intellectually vibrant Northeastern community, be it during the events mentioned above, during a recent conversation about human rights with rap artist and activist Emmanuel Jal, or in what promises to be an exciting exchange tomorrow on Gay Rights after Gay Marriage in the latest event of our campus-wide civility series. I hope to see you there.

Yours sincerely,

Uta G. Poiger
Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Letter from the Dean

September 4, 2013

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Welcome back to a new school year! I hope that you enjoyed the summer months, whether you were exploring a new place through a Dialogue or other study abroad program, conducting research, or recharging for the semester ahead.

It is exciting to see the campus come to life as everyone returns. Please take a moment to help me welcome all of the new faces in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities this fall, including the incoming freshmen, transfer and graduate students, and our newest post-docs, faculty, and staff members. Joining us this fall are a new co-op coordinator, several administrators for our departments, 13 full-time lecturers and visiting faculty, and 15 tenured and tenure-track faculty members. I am impressed by the scholarly expertise, the broad experiences, and the enthusiasm that these new colleagues bring to the college. Together, faculty, students, and staff in CSSH do great work, and I look forward to reporting to you on the varied initiatives of our college in the monthly newsletters.

This summer CSSH expanded its presence in Renaissance Park. Several departments and offices have transferred their operations to the new location, including the Office of Student Academic Affairs, which encompasses Undergraduate Academic Advising as well as Graduate Admissions and Student Services. About a quarter of our faculty members and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, the International Affairs Program, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and the Department of African American Studies have moved their offices to the second or third floors of Renaissance Park. This move provides our faculty, staff, and students with more modern, updated space; it also creates physical clusters of faculty with similar scholarly foci from across disciplines, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, especially on matters related to international affairs, security and resilience, as well as social justice . If you have not visited the new spaces yet, I encourage you to do so this semester.

We are planning two events this month to officially open the Renaissance Park location, one for faculty and staff, and one for graduate and undergraduate students. On Thursday, September 12 from 3 – 4:30 p.m., we will celebrate the start of the new academic year, explore the new space, and toast the new faculty members at our CSSH New Faculty Reception and Renaissance Park Open House. I look forward to mingling with all CSSH faculty and staff members at this event.

A week later, on September 19, I hope to see many of our graduate and undergraduate students at our student reception, which we will hold in the Office of Student Academic Affairs on the ground floor at 180 Renaissance Park from 3 – 5 p.m. You will be able to vote for the best entries in the CSSH Global Photography Contest, which will be publicly displayed in the space. The finalists’ images are stunning and represent all the corners of the globe that our students explore while not on campus.

There will be other opportunities to visit Renaissance Park. This year the Humanities Center will again sponsor the Faculty Works-in-Progress Colloquium Series, which will take place almost every week in Room 310R1. On Monday, September 9, our first speaker will be Heather Streets-Salter, an associate professor of history and director of world history programs. Fall speakers will present a broad range of research projects that include, for example, Ghana’s petroleum industry, the typography of Shakespeare, the Dalit women of Nepal, and the racial preferences of urban parents in choosing schools for their children. This is an important venue to meet colleagues from outside your program or department, while participating in the lively discussions that accompany the presentations. Please also look out for the many other lectures and events CSSH units are co-sponsoring, from the SPUAA Open Classroom on “Policy for a Healthy America” to the Humanities Center’s Viral Culture Talks. The CSSH and departmental events calendars will fill soon.

As I wrote in my email to all CSSH faculty and staff In July, it is an honor for me to serve as your permanent dean and to represent you and the college within the university and in the greater community.  I am delighted to be working with all of you–faculty, staff, and students. Together, we will move forward the CSSH mission of fostering a unique liberal arts education that integrates experiential learning, of producing cutting-edge knowledge on and solutions to contemporary political and social problems, and of fostering ethical reflection and critical thought while focusing attention on the enduring significance of history, literature, and culture. I look forward to the new year, the new initiatives, programs, and collaborations, and especially the extraordinary paths on which our students will embark.

With best wishes for the new semester,

Sincerely,

Uta G. Poiger
Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Letter from the Dean

May 2, 2013

Dear Faculty, Students and Staff,

The weeks since April 15 have brought a range of emotions to our CSSH community. The city of Boston has proven strong, as has our University, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy.

To help audiences better comprehend these events, CSSH faculty have commented in national and international media outlets. Early discussants included Associate Dean for Research Jack McDevitt, who spoke with NPR. Stephen Flynn, professor of political science and the co-director of the Northeastern Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, shared his expertise on terrorism and resilience with Bloomberg TV, NPR, CNN, and the Christian Science Monitor. For USA Today, Lipman Family Professor of Criminal Justice James Alan Fox wrote an op-ed on the impact of the attacks, and The Wall Street Journal turned to Distinguished Professor of History Bill Fowler as well as Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science David Lazer for insight on several issues related to the attacks and the investigation. Others among our faculty have, and continue to, provide analysis in the aftermath of this tragedy. Last Wednesday, faculty members from our College and the School of Law led a panel discussion moderated by Northeastern General Counsel Ralph Martin to address issues such as the motivation for crime, the importance of resilience, the prosecution of domestic terror suspects, and the dangers of misreading religious motivations. In the middle of finals week, an audience of over 100 engaged in a lively discussion with the panelists, revealing a strong need for conversation and analysis.

Acknowledging the trauma of the present, as well as the past, is a common endeavor for the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and the College of Arts, Media and Design, as is helping our students and larger communities to appreciate the significance of history, literature, and music. Last month, CSSH and the Northeastern Humanities Center continued the annual University tradition of hosting Northeastern Holocaust Awareness Week. This year’s Northeastern Holocaust Commemoration started the week off with a fascinating program. Gideon Klein Scholar Heather Viola, a human services and international affairs major, presented her research on children’s music in Prague’s Terezin concentration camp and performed a beautiful operatic song composed in the camp. Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies Laurel Leff, a faculty member in the School of Journalism, investigated American universities’ complex role in saving Jewish scholars from persecution in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. This commemoration was also the third event in our College’s yearlong series, “Conflict, Civility, Respect, Peace: Northeastern Reflects.” Throughout the week, the Holocaust Awareness Committee brought us a rich set of programs. Daniel Mendelsohn, internationally renowned author of The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, gave the 21st Annual Robert Salomon Morton Lecture. We hosted a talk on the Warsaw Ghetto, a film panel on European refugees and the U.S. civil rights movements, and a presentation by a Holocaust survivor.

This is a time of year for both reflection and celebration. Three College of Social Sciences and Humanities students were honored at this year’s Academic Honors Convocation. President Aoun recognized international affairs majors Brian Henske (Hodgkinson Award) and Miguel de Corral (Presidential Global Fellow), as well as economics doctoral candidate Rand Ghayad (Graduate Research Award) for making “an indelible impression” on Northeastern and the wider world. Phil Brown, jointly appointed in our Department of Sociology and Anthropology and in Health Sciences, was one of three Northeastern faculty members to receive the University Distinguished Professorship. Later that evening, the President honored the Huntington 100 at his home;  twenty-four CSSH majors were among those selected as the most influential juniors and seniors at Northeastern.

I look forward to hearing student speaker Miguel de Corral, a CSSH international affairs and political science graduate of the class of ’13, address a full TD Bank Garden tomorrow at the University’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. On behalf of the CSSH Dean’s Office and all faculty and staff, congratulations to Miguel and to all of the undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees this week. Please stay in touch and let us know about your endeavors as alumni of Northeastern University and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities!

Sincerely,

Uta G. Poiger
Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Letter from the Dean

March 13, 2013

Dear Faculty, Students and Staff,

This spring semester is bringing us multiple opportunities to reflect on questions of community and diversity. On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day in January, the Northeastern Humanities Center, which is housed in our college, collaborated with the School of Law to bring Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison to campus for a special evening, “No Welcome Home: Remembering Harms and Restoring Justice.” Morrison was the keynote speaker for an event that celebrated the School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project directed by Professor Margaret Burnham. Before Toni Morrison read from her recent novel Home, Professor Burnham introduced the audience to families who have been touched by the work of her law students. The audience also witnessed the premiere of the moving documentary on the project with the title, “The Trouble I’ve Seen.” I highly recommend the documentary for teaching and learning in our college: it reveals the violence against black Americans that accompanied the civil rights struggle, it highlights the work of Northeastern faculty and law students to address past injustice, and it also shows the difficulties of coming to terms with this violent legacy in both legal and social terms. Earlier in the day, Toni Morrison participated in a discussion of her first novel, The Bluest Eye with CSSH students. The students, who had prepared for this conversation in advance with Professor Kimberly Brown from our English Department, engaged Professor Morrison on topics from lessons of the Civil Rights era to how ethnic minorities are portrayed in popular culture. The workshop was paradigmatic of what an education in the humanities and social sciences can do for any student in any major: foster critical thinking and ethical reasoning.

Valuing diversity and building bridges across our differences are essential for establishing sustainable communities over the long term and for educating global citizens. For this reason, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, in partnership with the Office of Student Affairs and in conjunction with the Presidential Council on Inclusion and Diversity, last month launched a new educational series, “Conflict, Civility, Respect, Peace: Northeastern Reflects.” Hosted by former Governor of Massachusetts and Distinguished Professor of Political Science Michael S. Dukakis, the series fosters conversation among the campus community. The opening event “Understanding Hate” attracted a standing-room only crowd of more than 300 students, faculty, and staff. Students asked insightful and difficult questions of the four CSSH faculty panelists: Jack Levin (Sociology), Jack McDevitt (Criminal Justice), Richard O’Bryant (Political Science), and Gordana Rabrenovic (Sociology). Our next event, “I Am Northeastern: Northeastern Students Build Community and Peace,” is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, at 4 p.m. in the Cabral Center. Six students and CSSH faculty members Serena Parekh (Philosophy and Religion) and Gia Barboza (African American Studies) will discuss what core values we might associate with “civic sustainability” and whether students’ experiences in experiential learning should lead us to augment the current “I am Northeastern” pledge.

In our January newsletter, we announced the recipients of the inaugural Dean’s Research Development Awards. In the second offering of these awards the College received 19 applications from faculty members across the College, more than double the number of applications we received initially. This month, we would like to draw your attention to the CSSH Undergraduate Research Initiative. This award will help support undergraduate students’ research with faculty members and cover expenses such as the purchase of data or software, trips to archives, library cards, and preparation of materials for presentations. The first deadline was February 8, but students may apply for work to be done in the summer and/or fall (deadline of May 1) and for work to be done in the spring (deadline of December 1).

On a lighter note, Assistant Professor of English Ryan Cordell made international headlines, and even an appearance on Good Morning America, earlier this semester when his daughters’ Facebook plea for a puppy went viral overnight. After he agreed to let his daughters get a puppy if they received one million Facebook ‘likes,’ his girls started the social media page “Twogirlsandapuppy” and exceeded their father’s challenge-in under six hours-making them an internet sensation. Press coverage, especially in The Atlantic and on NPR, nicely combined the sentimental and the serious: reporting on the viral puppy page, these outlets also drew attention to Professor Cordell’s research collaborations with other Northeastern scholars on digital methods and the viral culture. It is inspiring to see so many of our CSSH and Northeastern faculty colleagues engage a broader public on campus, in the state of Massachusetts, and in the wider world.

I very much look forward to seeing you for another lively campus discussion next Wednesday on the theme “I Am Northeastern: Northeastern Students Build Community and Peace.”

Sincerely,

Uta G. Poiger
Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Letter from the Dean

January 10, 2013

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Happy New Year and welcome back to campus. Let me take the opportunity of this first newsletter of 2013 to tell you about some of our new initiatives in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH). Two linked areas, in which Northeastern and CSSH are currently building new capacities, are the Digital Humanities and Computational Social Science. The brand new NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks is co-directed by Professor of English Elizabeth Maddock Dillon and Professor of Political Science and Computer Science David Lazer. It is an inter-college effort developed in cooperation with the College of Computer and Information Science and the College of Arts, Media and Design. Dillon and Lazer look forward to adding to the core group of faculty associated with the NULab with a new cluster hire. Assistant Professor of English Ryan Cordell is deeply involved in the NULab and last week, he organized a THATCamp for the Humanities and Technology on campus. The ‘camp’ provided a wonderful lead-in to the Modern Language Association’s Annual Meeting, which attracted participants from around the world to Boston. The Departments of English and History have named the inaugural cohort of NULab Graduate Research Fellows and HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) Scholars to support Northeastern’s work in Digital Humanities and Computational Social Science. We look forward to celebrating the official launch of NULab later this semester.

Northeastern is also making an impact in social science research on environmental health and on Smart & Sustainable Cities. University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences Phil Brown, who arrived at Northeastern in the fall, studies the impact of environmental toxins on our bodies. Last December, he launched Northeastern’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI). Backed by NSF funding and connections with the Silent Spring Institute, the Toxics Action Center and other leading environmental health groups, SSEHRI will increase the awareness and research opportunities around environmental sociology and health. For an audience from Northeastern and the broader Boston public, Joan Fitzgerald, Interim Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs (SPPUA), and Professor Matthias Ruth, who holds a joint appointment in SPPUA and the College of Engineering, are leading this semester’s Open Classroom entitled, “Climate Change. Challenges. Solutions.” I look forward to seeing you at these and other exciting events that members of our CSSH community are organizing this semester.

In the Dean’s Office, we are implementing a new initiative to improve how we communicate with internal and external audiences, including our prospective, admitted, and current students and alumni. A Communications Committee comprised of CSSH faculty, students, and staff will meet on a regular basis this semester to suggest new initiatives and to help in designing a new website for the College. This week we are also delighted to announce our inaugural cohort of CSSH Dean’s Research Development Award recipients. Note that the deadline for the next round of applications is March 1. Please consider applying and/or encourage your colleagues to apply. Last but not least, the CSSH Dean’s Search Committee is holding meetings with the constituent groups of the College tomorrow, Friday, November 11. I hope you will let the search committee hear about your hopes for the new dean and the future of our college.

Best wishes for a healthy, productive, and happy 2013!

Sincerely,

Uta G. Poiger
Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Letter From the Dean

December 20, 2012

Dear CSSH Faculty, Staff and Students:

As this semester comes to a close, I wish you all a happy and restful holiday season. The past two years have been ones of change and progress, not just for Northeastern University, but also for the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Under the leadership of Founding Dean Georges Van Den Abbeele, and with the dedication of faculty and staff, the College made great strides. We wish Dean Van Den Abbeele all the best in his new endeavors as Dean of Humanities at UC Irvine.

It is my pleasure as Interim Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities to build on our College’s momentum and to further its mission: to contribute to the liberal arts education of all Northeastern students; to produce cutting-edge knowledge about and solutions to political and social problems of our contemporary world; and to foster ethical reflection and critical thought while focusing attention on the enduring significance of history and literature. CSSH and the Humanities Center have continued the Faculty Works-in-Progress Colloquia series in which faculty members in CSSH and around the University present pioneering research to their peers. We had an impressive lineup during the spring and fall semesters of 2012, with topics ranging from environmental hazards to public health; to conflict resolution in Northern Ireland; to tracking the circulation of a nineteenth-century literary text through digital methods; to the use of informatics for understanding global conflicts. We look forward to new and equally stimulating discussions during our Monday sessions next semester.

Our students continue to impress me. Often they have been selected to speak on behalf of the entire Northeastern University student body at graduation ceremonies, convocations, and other important events. CSSH majors use what they learn in the classroom to go out into the world and work for change. Examples include Northeastern delegates winning awards at the International Model NATO Convention for successfully debating global policy; three undergraduate international affairs students constituting a delegation for the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Conference in Doha; History major William Bratches working in microfinance on co-op in Uganda; or Economics doctoral student Rand Ghayad penning a pioneering paper on long-term unemployment, which was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Last year, CSSH student Gwen Kidera placed second in the Coolest Co-op Contest with this video. Through co-op and other experiential programs, our students are proving that the liberal arts continue to hold a prominent place in today’s world and that majoring in the social sciences or humanities provides the basis for meaningful and fulfilling careers.

We have much to celebrate in CSSH as we flip the calendar from 2012 to 2013. I hope that you have a peaceful and re-energizing break and that you return to campus inspired to tackle challenges, effect change, and move the College forward in the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

Uta Poiger
Interim Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities