Making News: Higher-ed edition

Last modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2014

GCC teams up with women’s agencies

Greenfield — Greenfield Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture and Green Energy Education Center, in partnership with Montague Catholic Social Ministries in Turners Falls, the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition in Greenfield and Orange, and Seeds of Solidarity in Orange, has formed The Franklin County Women’s GARDEN, which stands for Growing Agricultural Resiliency and Developing Economic Networks project, funded by the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. The project will provide no cost skill training in sustainable agriculture and food preservation to at-risk women in transition in Franklin County, promoting food security and economic independence.

Students will learn about organic gardening, permaculture landscape installation, food preservation and farm and food cooperatives. The Women’s Fund grant will pay for instructor costs. GCC will provide instructors training with the agencies on how to understand trauma triggers, recognize signs of physical and emotional domestic violence, and other factors affecting women in transition.

UMass scholar named distinguished professor

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts trustees recently appointed Islamic art scholar Walter Denny, of the art, architecture and art history department, distinguished professor.

Denny joined the UMass Amherst faculty in 1970. He received a bachelor’s degree at Oberlin College, and master’s and doctorate degrees in fine arts at Harvard.

His work focuses on the art of the Ottoman Empire, Islamic ceramics, carpets and textiles. Denny’s most recent book, “The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art,” was published in 2012; “How to Read Islamic Carpets” will be published in October by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press.

He has taught graduate seminars in museum studies at UMass Amherst for over 30 years and helped organize exhibitions of Islamic art for museums in the United States and abroad. He is senior consultant in the department of Islamic art at the MET in New York City since 2007.

UMass provides $80K for expanded ambulance services

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst will again provide the town of Amherst $80,000 for expanded ambulance service during the fall and spring semesters. The contribution will cover staffing for two additional ambulances during busy periods, mostly on weekends. The university also pays the town for ambulance service according to a per-call formula. UMass Amherst paid the town $363,718 for ambulance services during fiscal 2012, and began paying to cover the expanded service in the spring of 2013.

Westfield State to host career fair on campus

Westfield — The College Career Centers of Western Massachusetts annual government, criminal Justice and non-profit career fair will be held Thursday, Oct. 9, from 1:30–4:00 p.m. at the Woodward Center, Westfield State University. This fair is open to employers and students at no cost.

Over 700 students and 100 agencies took part last year. To register your business or agency visit the Career Center website at If you are unable to attend the event, you may post full-time/part-time, or internship positions on the school’s website.

UMass geologist chairs polar research board

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts geoscientist Julie Brigham-Grette, a six year U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ National Polar Research Board member, has been named the new chair of the board, with the responsibility of promoting excellence in polar science and providing independent scientific guidance to federal agencies and the nation on science issues in the Arctic, Antarctic and cold regions of the world.

She co-chaired the council’s 2012 synthesis of reports from thousands of scientists in 60 countries who participated in the International Polar Year 2007-08, is an expert in climate evolution and sea level history in the Arctic over the last 3.6 million years, and has participated in nine field expeditions there over the past three decades. She and colleagues use stratigraphy, sedimentology and chronology of geologic systems to document the global context of paleoenvironmental change in the area of the Bering Land Bridge, and adjacent seas between Alaska and the Yukon and Northeast Russia.

HCC Gateway program number one in U.S.

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College’s Gateway to College program, which aims to support at-risk high school students, leads the nation in both retention rates, at 87 percent, and graduation rates, at 80 percent. These are the best rates of all 43 Gateway to College programs, which average 53 percent for retention and 27 percent for graduation. The program is geared to work with high school students who have dropped out of school or are at risk for dropping out by enrolling them in college classes. Students earn both their high school diplomas and college credit.

HCC’s largest Gateway class ever graduated June 9, with 26 students from Amherst, Palmer, Holyoke and Springfield receiving high school diplomas and a total of 387 college credits. Since 2010, 142 students have earned their high school diplomas through the program.

UMass ranked leader in U.S. patent awards

Amherst — The University of Massachusetts ranks among the top universities granted U.S. patents last year, placing 32 in the world and third in New England, according to a recent study by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. With a total of 57 patents in 2013, UMass placed in the upper third of the top 100 list, behind only MIT and Harvard in the six-state New England region.

The patents include: from UMass Medical School, a new gene therapy technique aimed at treating Down’s Syndrome; from UMass Amherst, a patent for software developed at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere that could save lives by providing earlier and more localized warning of severe weather by analyzing observations from multiple networked radar units; and from UMass Lowell, a patent for an over-the-counter vitamin/nutraceutical formulation that helps provide protection for the aging brain and may improve cognitive performance.

Irizarry named editor of UMass ed journal

AMHERST — Jason Irizarry, associate professor and director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Education’s urban education initiative, has been selected as the new editor of Equity & Excellence in Education. The journal began publication in 1963 and focuses on topics related to equity, equality and social justice in K-12 or postsecondary schooling.

Irizarry received a doctorate in education in 2005 from the College of Education. He is the author of “The Latinization of U.S. Schools: Successful Teaching and Learning in Shifting Cultural Contexts,” and former associate editor for the Journal for Literacy Research.


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