SUNY Old Westbury Professor Llana Barber visits Eastern

By: Casandra Rivera

“White picket fences, apple orchards” and cookie cutter houses in the suburbs, cross an “unmarked barrier to find condemned mills and poverty in the city”. “How did the city get like this? How did it not affect the suburbs? Is segregation responsible?” These questions ran through my mind as SUNY Old Westbury Professor Llana Barber set the scene and placed me in the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts from 1945 to 2000.

SUNY Old Westbury Professor Llana Barber talking about her new book Latino City at Eastern.

In her recent visit to campus, Barber told the story of Dominican and Puerto Rican individuals migrating to the United States in search of what we know as the “American Dream.” However, what was initially expected from America was far from what they received.

These individuals initially settled in New York City, but the city was enduring an urban crisis: poverty and unemployment were rampant, and it was sometimes not safe. In search of a safer and more prosperous place to start their new lives, they migrated to the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Lawrence was also, experiencing an urban crisis of its own due to what is known as the “suburb boom.” During this time Lawrence’s suburbs “expanded, doubling in size and individuals from the city moved into these suburban areas, causing the city to go through a downward spiral.”

The people of Lawrence were looking for a scapegoat for the city’s decline, someone to blame for the urban crisis, this scapegoat became Dominican and Puerto Rican settlers. These individuals were blamed for bringing poverty, crime, and welfare dependency to the city of Lawrence.

However, through the hard times, Dominican and Puerto Rican residents of Lawrence were determined to prove this narrative false. Instead they halted Lawrence’s decline: they increased the population of the city, they increased funding for schools, they saved local industries that were hanging by a thread and they insured that Hispanics had a voice in the community. It was an act of activism that revitalized the city, these individuals came together to transform the city of Lawrence.

 

 

Polisci Professor Mendoza-Botelho Presents at Symposium on Bolivia

By Anne Pappalardo

Willimantic, CT — Eastern Political Science Professor Martin Mendoza-Botelho was invited by a small group of panelists to discuss “Bolivia: Assessing the Contemporary Social and Political Landscape” at a public symposium at American University in Washington, DC, on March 5.

Presenters at the event addressed the significance of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ term in office and the MAS, Bolivia’s governing party under Morales. They also discussed the historical impact of the era, key policies and initiatives, and addressed challenges and controversies that promise to shape Bolivia’s present and future.

Eastern Political Science Professor Martin Mendoza-Botelho (center), accompanied by symposium hosts Professor of Latin American Studies Robert Albro (left) and Dean of Academic Affairs Núria Vilanova (right), both of American University.

“Among other things, I commented on Bolivia’s Welfare State, including social policies such as education, healthcare and pensions, as well as how some recent changes will affect them, such as the reduction in price of key commodities, such as natural gas, that Bolivia exports,” said Mendoza-Botelho.

Since the beginning of his presidency in 2006, Morales has set an ambitious program of reform mainly aimed at incorporating long-standing social demands of indigenous and less privileged groups. Benefiting from the high prices of international commodities, the Bolivian government has been able to implement important reforms that have allowed the country to cut poverty by more than half, in addition to implementing important institutional changes such as the rewriting of the country’s Constitution.

“I hope this conference will foster an informed debate among experts that will eventually resonate among policymakers,” concluded Mendoza-Botelho. “In the recent past, the Morales administration has achieved impressive and positive social and economic changes that have benefited many sectors of the population, in particular indigenous groups that were historically marginalized.”

Mendoza-Botelho began his professional career with UNICEF and worked for several organizations including the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Organization of American States. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Cambridge, is a member of the Bolivian Studies Association and was editor-in-chief of the Bolivian Research Review journal. He became a faculty member at Eastern in 2013.

Eastern polisci students present their work at the Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Conference in Philadelphia

By Adam Murphy

A week ago, a group of us, polisci students, presented our work at the Northeast Regional Political Science Association annual conference in Philadelphia. The group included Tess Candler, Emma Avery, Mikhela Hull and me. We spent the entire weekend attending academic panels of scholar on a range of topics, together with Professors Nicole Krassas and Courtney Broscious. For me the conference was an amazing experience, as I was able to hear political scientists talk about food riots in India in one panel and educational assessment in another. Another group went to another panel entitled “Analyzing the Trump Presidency”. In her own words, Emma greatly appreciated “…the diverse viewpoints that came from around the country and the academic discourse

From left to right, Eastern students Tess Candler, Emma , Adam Murphy and Mikhaela a the NPSA 2017 Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

From left to right, polisci Eastern students Tess Candler, Emma Avery, Adam Murphy and Mikhela Hull at the NPSA 2017 Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

that took place”. Moreover, Emma and Tess presented a co-authored paper on environmental policy in congress; while Mikhela presented a paper examining child protection policy failures. My paper explored trust in government among college students. All of us received great feedback and enjoyed being able to present our research to a specialized audience. As part of this trip we were also able to take some time to view a historic city, and enjoyed our tour of the Reading Terminal Market, Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Magic Garden. In between academic panels, we were able to visit some food places unique to Philadelphia.We recommend anyone interested in presenting their research, take advantage of opportunities to receive valuable feedback from an audience and see a new city.

 

Welcoming Back Pizza and Politics

By Alaina Beyers

Economic prestige discussion

Eastern students participating in the last Pizza and Politics night.

November 1st marked the kick off of the Political Science department’s first Pizza and Politics event of the fall 2017 semester! The Political Science department, in conjunction with Eastern’s Pre Law Society, hosted an open discussion on the effects a country’s level of prestigious status has on its ability to interact politically and economically with the international community. Dr. Martín Mendoza-Botelho, Dr. Chris Vasillopulos and Dr. Patrick Vitale, each from different niches of the Department, lent their expertise as framers of the discussion by setting up individual arguments based on the three questions below to an audience of more than 30 students.

1. How do you define economic prestige from your discipline/theoretical perspective and how it relates to political power?

2. Would you say that there is a loss of economic prestige in the U.S. and in the Western World in general? If so, what are the immediate and long term effects?

3. In a globalized world (and economies), can governments still use economic prestige as a nationalist tool?

From the various responses that each of the professors gave, the students followed up by breaking into groups and conversing amongst themselves, picking out assumptions made by each professor, and deciding which of the arguments from their perspectives contained the strongest and weakest points. Members of the Pre Law Society Bianca Little, Kyle Gray, Alaina Beyers, and Taylor Moore lead the discussions in these small groups, and then reported out to the collective on the conclusions of each discussion.

Each of the professors were game to field any questions or comments sent their way from eager Eastern students, and the atmosphere of engaged excitement was tangible! Thank you to all the professors involved, the Pre Law Society, and the student audience. We hope to see even more Eastern students at the next Pizza at Politics!

For anyone interested in more information please contact the President of the Pre Law Society, Megan E. Hull at prelawsociety@my.easternct.edu.

Polisci Professor William Salka receives a prestigious Fellowship from the American Council on Education (ACE)

By Ed Osborne

The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that William Salka, professor of political science at Eastern Connecticut State University, has been named an ACE Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year.

Professor William Salka

Professor William Salka

Salka, who resides in Somers, CT, joined Eastern’s Political Science Department in 2000 after receiving his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, he has also served as chair of the Political Science Department and as president of Eastern’s University Senate. Salka is in his fifth year as the director of the University Honors program and also chaired the University’s strategic planning process that produced the latest 2013-18 Strategic Plan. He is the coordinator of accreditation in preparation for Eastern’s next re accreditation review, and is also co-chair of the Senate committee assigned to improve assessment of Eastern’s academic programs.

“As a scholar, teacher, faculty leader, mentor and role model, Dr. Salka continues to serve Eastern and the greater academic community with distinction,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Bill has demonstrated an intellectual depth and possesses outstanding leadership skills that I know he will develop and expand during his ACE fellowship.”

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. Nominated by the senior administration of their institutions, 46 fellows were selected this year following a rigorous application process.

“This is an incredible opportunity and honor, and I would like to thank President Núñez for nominating me,” said Salka. “This fellowship has helped develop many leaders over the past five decades, and I hope to bring new skills and ideas back to Eastern to help in our ongoing efforts to provide a high quality liberal arts education to all of our students.”

Nearly 1,900 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of fellows going on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities. The 2017-18 class will kick off its work this fall as ACE prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.

“Fulfilling higher education’s 21st century mission depends upon a visionary, bold and diverse global community of institutional leaders, and the ACE Fellows Program plays a key role in cultivating these leaders,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “The diverse and talented 2017-18 Fellows class demonstrates why the program has made such a vital contribution for more than a half-century to expanding the leadership pipeline for our colleges and universities.”

The program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.

During the placement, fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institution and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement

 

Original link: http://www.easternct.edu/pressreleases/2017/04/03/eastern-professor-named-american-council-on-education-fellow/

Polisci student Meaghan McFall-Gorman is the winner of the 2016 Election Blog competition

Meaghan

Meaghan McFall-Gorman receiving her well desserved award for the Election 2016 Blog competition

On March 8, 2017 Meaghan McFall-Gorman received an award for winning the Elections 2016 Blog Competition. Dr. Mendoza-Botelho and Dr. Krassas were happy to present the award to Meaghan for her excellent post on the rift between Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the 2016 election. Meaghan is a senior English and Political Science major who has written blog posts on a variety of topics in the past. In this particular blog post Meaghan wrote about her experiences at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2016, and particularly the perception of Donald Trump at the conference. I caught up with Meaghan after she received the award, and we talked how perceptions of Donald Trump have changed since last year. Meaghan had an interesting outlook on the topic because she was able to attend CPAC in 2017 as well as 2016, and she thought President Trump was extremely well received this year. She explained that the change in perception of Donald Trump over the year was a complete turnaround from 2016 when he didn’t attend the conference allegedly because of threats of a walk out planned by conference goers. Meaghan thought that President Trump’s 2017 CPAC address was a very presidential call to action. She appreciated him focusing on unity rather than a usual call to arms. Another one of her favorite moments from the conference was an International Relations panel featuring Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus because even though many people see the two as opposing each other, she thought the two complemented each other well in their views and approaches.

After graduating Meaghan is enrolling at her graduate school of choice, Queens University in Ontario, to pursue a Master’s Degree in English Literature and Language.