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Office of Communications

Notable & Quotable

  • Gretchen Grosky, adjunct lecturer in journalism and adviser to the student newspaper, The Beacon, completed two fellowships this summer — one at Columbia University’s Age Boom Academy, focusing on the international response to the aging workforce, and the other as a Journalists in Aging fellow at the Gerontological Society of America and New Media. As part of the latter fellowship, Grosky spent four days at the World Congress on Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Francisco, which attracted 6,500 experts in the field of aging from around the world. Grosky, who led a team of journalists in winning the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news, is a reporter at the Union Leader newspaper in New Hampshire, with a beat focused on the state’s rapidly aging population.

  • Michael Mascolo, professor of psychology and academic director of the Compass program, gave a talk, “A Primer on Personal Construct Psychology,” and presented a paper, “The Failure of Objectivity: The Intersubjective Origins of Psychological Knowledge,” at the 45th International Congress of Personal Construct Psychology July 6-9, 2017, at Concordia University in Montréal. He also published several papers in 2017. They include “A Person Is Not an Object: Rethinking the Psychological Analysis of Persons” and “Understanding Personhood: Can We Get There From Here?” and “How Objectivity Undermines the Study of Personhood: Toward an Intersubjective Epistemology for Psychological Science,” all in New Ideas in Psychology.

  • Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication, was interviewed by the grassroots media website Weave News for the fourth part of its “Attack on Academia“ series with academics who have endured sustained campaigns of threats and harassment from the alt-right. Zimdars made national headlines when a document she created to help her students practice analyzing the credibility of various websites claiming to share news went viral and incurred the wrath of far-right organizations and individuals.

  • William Wians, professor of philosophy, served as co-editor of two recent volumes published by the scholarly publishing house Brill. They are “Reading Aristotle,” a collection of original essays on the ancient Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle (co-edited by Ron Polansky at Duquesne University), and “Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy,” volume 32 of a leading series in ancient philosophy (co-edited by Gary M. Gurtler at Boston College).

  • Raymond Shaw, associate professor of psychology, wrote an essay, “Assessing the Intangible in Our Students,” for the July 27 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Ten years ago, Richard Shavelson wrote that accreditation pressures could lead us to focus on easily formulated, standardized and measured student outcomes and to neglect ‘personal and social responsibility skills’ — ‘personal, civic, moral, social and intercultural knowledge and actions,’” Shaw wrote. “He warned that if we do not measure those, ‘they will drop from sight.’ If we neglect the ineffable outcomes in our efforts to understand what college is for, and what we accomplish in higher education, they could disappear from our attention, our aspirations and eventually from our teaching.”

  • Dan Sarofian-ButinDan Sarofian-Butin, professor of education, was quoted in a July 6, 2017, BBC story about celebrities who take executive education courses at Harvard Business School. “These type of courses allow students to say they went to Harvard, were taught by a famous professor and interacted with other cool students,” he said. Sarofian-Butin added that while most celebrities may know more about their industries than their professor, they can still benefit from the program. “This is what a good teacher can bring to the table: the ability to point things out that are obvious, but only once you are able to see the bigger picture,” he said.

  • Mary KantorMary Kantor, adjunct lecturer in religious and theological studies, was quoted in a July 3, 2017, Catholic News Service story about three women who were consecrated June 24 into the Catholic Church’s order of virgins in a ceremony at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. The vocation of consecrated virginity, which requires women to live a life of perfect chastity, dates back to the beginnings of the Catholic Church but had all but disappeared by the 11th century. “The rite of consecration of virgins in the world dropped off over the centuries as monastic community life for women developed,” said Kantor, who studied the vocation extensively for her doctoral dissertation at Harvard Divinity School. “During my  (dissertation) research, I spoke with someone in the bishop and/or vocation offices of each diocese in the country. Some had no knowledge of the rite.”

  • Andrew Tollison, assistant professor of communication, gave a talk July 20, 2017, to the Newburyport Parkinson’s Support Group on the emotional impact of difficult medical diagnoses. Tollison emphasized the role of communication in dealing with illness, and the importance of disclosure with friends and relatives. The talk was held at the Newburyport, Massachusetts, Senior Center.

  • Thomas Nolan, associate professor and program director of the criminology and criminal justice graduate program, was quoted in a June 21, 2017, Boston Globe story about Boston police officers who last year earned up to four times their base salary due to a provision in their union contract that mandates a minimum of four hours’ pay when they work details or testify in court. Nolan said the generous contract provision demonstrates the union’s ability, over the years, to demand and win favorable terms in contract negotiations. “Boston police have historically earned some of the highest salaries in the country,” he said. “There has been a history of the police obtaining (contracts) and being very successful at the bargaining table.”

  • Harry Wessel, associate professor and chair of political science, was quoted in a June 15, 2017, Eagle-Tribune story about the shooting rampage at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, that injured five, including one critically. Wessel said the shooting puts a damper on the annual baseball game between Democratic and Republican representatives, one of the last bipartisan traditions that survives in the nation’s capital. “Baseball games are a way to facilitate bipartisanship, but of course, that is now the exception to the rule,” he said. “Everybody is now in their silos. You have 3 million plus viewers of Fox News basically getting news that reinforces their own pre-existing views, and it’s the same with MSNBC on the other side.”

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Please send contributions for this page to:

Ken Gornstein
Director, Digital Media
gornsteink@merrimack.edu