Presentation on Ethiopia Study Abroad Opportunity to be Held Jan. 29.


Students will learn about an opportunity to work with Ethiopia’s deaf population during a presentation on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. in Lecture Center room 108.

Communication Disorders lecturer Rebecca Swenson participated in the Visions Deaf Education and Empowerment in Ethiopia service learning trip last summer and will speak about her experiences. A representative from the Study Abroad office will be present to provide information and answer questions.

Students can earn three credits for the study abroad course in Ethiopia, held June 15-27. The course is offered by the SUNY New Paltz Center for International Programs, in partnership with Visions Global Empowerment.

The Evolution and Art Interface: New Paltz Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Darwin Day

Humans around the world create visual art, music and dance. None of these activities are particularly helpful at facilitating survival. How did these features come to so strongly embed into our species? Why are humans “artistic apes?”

The New Paltz’s Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program will explore these questions during its 10th Annual Celebration of Darwin Day – a day dedicated to celebrating the advances in our understanding of life that have followed from Charles Darwin’s work.

The event will be held on Thursday, February 12 (what would have been Darwin’s 206th birthday) from 5-8 p.m. in Lecture Center room 108.

Gabrielle Starr

Keynote speaker Dr. Gabrielle Starr (New York University) explores the connection between evolution and the arts.

Dr. Gabrielle Starr (New York University), author of Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience, will deliver the keynote address. Starr is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at NYU and her work focuses on a scientific/evolutionist account of the arts.

A panel composed of local scholars with interests in the evolution and art interface will follow the keynote address. Panelists include EvoS scholars Glenn Geher (Psychology), Andrew Higgins (English), Paul Kassel (Theatre Arts) and Andrea Varga (Theatre Arts).

The public is invited to attend the talk and free reception.

The event is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, Evolutionary Studies Program and School of Fine and Performing Arts.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

LA&S Faculty Meeting to be Held January 27

A full meeting of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in Lecture Center 102.

This meeting was postponed from the end of the Fall 2014 term and will include Dean Laura Barrett’s report to the LA&S faculty, a report from the LA&S Senate on business conducted last fall, and other agenda items directly concerning the LA&S faculty.

“Despite the very busy period of the new semester and the return of Annual Report season, I encourage all LA&S Faculty to attend this meeting, especially as we push forward to heighten the profile of–and to strengthen the university’s commitment of resources to–the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” said Christopher Link, LA&S Senate presiding officer.

Link announced that agendas will be available soon. Those wishing to add an agenda item concerning the LA&S faculty as a whole should contact Link via email at

Sociology Professor Discusses Athlete Activism on Texas Public Radio

Do NBA stars wearing “I Can’t Breathe” warm-up T-shirts and the St. Louis Rams’ controversial “Hands up, don’t shoot,” pre-game pose signal the return of the athlete as activist?

Peter Kaufman

Peter Kaufman

Sociology Professor Peter Kaufman weighed in on pro athletes’ responses to the shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner during a Dec. 10 interview with Texas Public Radio.

On the call-in talk radio show “The Source,” Kaufman noted the upsurge in athletes taking a stand on social issues, but said he was not sure if players’ expressed solidarity with Brown and Garner yet constitutes a “full blown movement.”

Referencing the historically negative backlash black athletes have received when attempting to comment on politically-charged issues, Kaufman agreed with fellow panelist Leonard Moore (University of Texas), that athletes are not perceived as humans entitled to express their thoughts publicly.

“We see them as a commodity bought and sold by the owners and the viewers, and we want them to shut up and play. We don’t want them to have opinions,” he said.

Kaufman cited the inequity of athletes who are expected to maintain an apolitical public persona while playing in sports that are “highly politicized.” Sports, Kaufman argued, are linked inextricably with the forces of globalization, capitalism, racism and sexism.

Kaufman criticized the U.S. educational system for not teaching social consciousness, and noted that it’s not just athletes who remain silent.

“We live in a country that’s largely apolitical, that doesn’t have an understanding of how to struggle for social change, maybe even an understanding of how to recognize social injustice. We’ve not taught in our schools about everyday heroes and everyday change-makers,” he said.

Kaufman has taught courses on Social Change and the Sociology of Sport at New Paltz.

His work on the subject of athletes and activism includes “Playing and Protesting: Sport as a Vehicle for Social Change,” published in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues (2010) and “Boos, Bans, and Backlash: The Consequences of Being an Activist Athlete,” published in Humanity and Society (2008).

Kaufman also shared his thoughts on the Brown shooting and racism in the U.S. in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency in Iran on Dec. 8.

LA&S Outstanding Graduates Honored

Students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who excelled academically and outside of the classroom were among graduates honored during the campus-wide Outstanding Graduate Awards ceremony, held Thursday, Dec. 11 in the Multi-Purpose Room.

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Philip Mauceri presented the students with certificates.

Congratulations to all LA&S Outstanding Graduates:

Alexis Moody

Asian Studies
Dennis Gross

Mia Faske
Carly Rome
Hayley Ward

Communication Disorders
Sarah McNamara
Shayna Burgess
Heidi Schmidt (Graduate)

Digital Media and Journalism
Gianna Canevari
Julio Olivencia
Alexandria Fontanez*

Maya Slouka
James Frauenberger
Karissa Keir
Danielle Brown (Graduate)

Kevin Vogelaar
Jessica Pierorazio (Graduate)
Jonathan Mandia*

Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Alexandria Fontanez*
Sarah Walling

Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Adam Repose

Elizabeth Saunders
Jonathan Mandia*

Political Science/International Relations
Andrew Roepe

Hannah Lake
Stefany Batista
Geoffrey Ralls
Morgan Gleason (Graduate)

Sarah Alestalo
Imuetinyan Odigie
Allison Smalley

Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Sudies
Emily Holmes

*Received multiple departmental awards.

Associate Professor Discusses Research on The Academic Minute

Eve Waltermaurer, associate professor (Sociology) and director of research and evaluation (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz, was recently featured on the nationally syndicated educational radio program “The Academic Minute,” speaking about her research on the intersection of criminology and public health.


Eve Waltermaurer

In her audio essay, which was broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 3, Waltermaurer explains that the close proximity of the prison environment can increase the behaviors that lead to transmission risk.

“With the fields of criminology and public health figuratively and literally housed separately in academia, the extraordinary connection between these two fields can easily be missed when, in fact, involvement with crime, as a perpetrator, victim, or officer, can independently put an individual at greater risk of poorer health,” Waltermaurer said.

She added, “While its name is long enough to make you fall asleep before the final syllable, epidemiological criminology, or the study of the intersection between crime and public health, has already been field tested to successfully improve our understanding in both fields.”

Waltermaurer holds a Ph.D. in epidemiology, with a concentration in criminology from the University at Albany. She has conducted research on violence and youth risk behaviors among other topics for the past 20 years. She is the lead editor of Epidemiological Criminology: Theory to Practice, published by Taylor & Francis, May 2013.

To hear Waltermaurer’s “Academic Minute” piece or read a transcript, click here.

About “The Academic Minute
“The Academic Minute” is an educationally focused radio segment produced by WAMC in Albany, N.Y., a National Public Radio member station. The show features an array of faculty from colleges and universities across the country to discuss the unique, high-impact aspects of their research. The program airs every weekday and is run multiple times during the day on about 50 different member stations across the National Public Radio spectrum. For more information, visit

LA&S Partners with Library to Continue Ferguson Conversation


Faculty, staff and students gathered in Student Union Building rooms 401 and 405 on Dec. 4 to discuss the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the related issues of police violence, racism and black lives.

On Dec. 4, Karanja Carroll, an associate professor of black studies, and Mark Colvson, dean of the Sojourner Truth Library, led a discussion on the controversial shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The discussion was held at noon in Student Union Building rooms 401 and 405.

The event was an informal, brown bag conversation on the events in Ferguson and related topics such as racism, police violence and black lives. Attendees, which included faculty, staff and students, were encouraged by event organizers to “listen with tolerance, disagree with respect, and support with grace.”

FBB5The discussion was the second in a series of talks organized by LA&S faculty members. On Dec. 2, Carroll, along with sociology assistant professors Alexandra Cox and Roberto Velez-Velez, held a discussion entitled, “Ferguson, Brown, Wilson and the Aftermath: Disciplinary Conversations on Race and Policing,” from 6-8 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium. The talk built upon topics explored in the Sojourner Truth Library display, “How We Got to Ferguson: An Interactive Bibliography,” which the professors curated.

In a Dec. 4 email sent to all faculty, staff and students, SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian responded to the recent grand jury decisions to not indict officers involved in the killing of Brown and Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York. Both men were unarmed.

Christian thanked New Paltz faculty and staff for providing outlets for community discussion.

“The issues around these events are complex and inspire passionate reactions and responses from all perspectives,” said Christian. “We are glad to see the actions and outreach of our faculty and staff who have provided some forums for discussion and we encourage all to participate in this programming when possible.”

For faculty members seeking instructional resources on these topics, Cox recommended this crowd sourced teaching guide about Ferguson.


LA&S Faculty Members to Hold Talk on Ferguson, Race and Policing

Please join Karanja Keita Carroll (Black Studies), Alexandra Cox (Sociology) and Roberto Velez-Velez (Sociology) for a discussion on “Ferguson, Brown, Wilson and the Aftermath: Disciplinary Conversations on Race and Policing” on Tuesday, Dec. 2 from 6-8 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building auditorium.

Building upon the Sojourner Truth Library display “How We Got to Ferguson: An Interactive Bibliography,” this discussion will approach the current state of race and policing from three distinct disciplinary and research perspectives.  The discussion will be aimed at building ideas about what students and faculty can do locally to respond to this national conversation.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Black Studies, Department of Sociology and the Sojourner Truth Library.

Panel Discussion on U.S. Foreign Policy and ISIS to be Held Nov. 20

The SUNY New Paltz Center for Middle Eastern Dialogue and the Department of Political Science and International Relations will sponsor a panel discussion on “U.S. Foreign Policy in Regard to ISIL/ISIS/IS” on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 102 on the New Paltz campus. This event is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include professors Vijay Prashad (Trinity College), James P. Ketterer (Bard College), and Lewis Brownstein (SUNY New Paltz). Stephen Pampinella, a professor at SUNY New Paltz, will moderate the discussion.

Prashad serves as the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and is the author of 16 books, including “The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South” (2013), “Arab Spring. Libyan Winter” (2012), and “The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World” (2007). He edits the “Dispatches” series of books for LeftWord Books and is a columnist for Frontline (India), a regular contributor to The Hindu (India), and a contributing editor for Himal South Asia (Nepal) and for Bol (Pakistan).

Ketterer is Senior Fellow, Institute for International Liberal Education and Director of International Academic Initiatives for the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College. He is affiliated with the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program, and the Middle Eastern Studies and Political Studies Departments at Bard. Ketterer is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on international and comparative politics. He has been a Boren Fellow in Morocco, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Tunisia and a State Department Fellow at the White House. He has served on international missions and consultancies for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations Development Program, and the U.S. Agency for International Development in a host of countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Brownstein is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at SUNY New Paltz, having taught for 45 years in the Political Science and International Relations Department.  His major areas of expertise include American Foreign Policy, which he taught and lectured on for many years, and the International Relations of the Middle East with particular emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  After the attacks of 9/11, Brownstein created a course on Terrorism in World Politics which has been offered regularly.

Support for this event has been provided by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Honors Program, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Campus Auxiliary Services. For more information contact Professor James Schiffer at or (845) 257-3637.

About the Center for Middle Eastern Dialogue
Founded in 2009, the Center for Middle Eastern Dialogue promotes constructive dialogue about the Middle East that explores ways to establish lasting peace in the region, encourage economic collaboration, and stimulate cultural and educational exchange. The Center provides a forum for students, faculty, community members, scholars and diplomats of various points of view to exchange ideas in a respectful way that will promote greater understanding of this complex and volatile region of the world.

History Department Colloquium Series Begins Nov. 12

Heather Morrison

Heather Morrison

Associate Professor Heather Morrison’s talk, “The Emperor’s New Plants: The Limits of Imperial Power in an Eighteenth Century Botanical Expedition,” will kick off a new History Department colloquium series, which will feature talks by department members on research in progress. The first talk will be held Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 2-3 p.m. in Jacobson Faculty Tower 1010.

The colloquium is not a series of lectures, but rather group discussions of unpublished works such as the paper by Morrison, who is writing a book on an Austrian botanical expedition in the Age of Enlightenment.

Colloquium papers will circulate beforehand. All are welcome, but participants should read the essay in advance. To receive a copy of the essay, please contact History Department Chair Andy Evans at

Below is a description of Morrison’s paper:

Towards the beginning of Joseph II’s sole rule in the 1780s, an unfortunate greenhouse disaster ruined much of the exotic plant collection for the palace of Schönbrunn. The Emperor was in the midst of internal reforms and cost-cutting and had little interest in financing a large-scale scientific endeavor, yet an emperor in the eighteenth century must have his plants. The court chose five men with background in the theoretical knowledge of the natural sciences or practical experience with collecting or drawing plants, outfitted them, and sent them off with detailed instructions and elaborate financial arrangements to journey to the “four other parts of the world.” Things did not work as minutely planned. The five managed to make it to North America after months of waiting in the Netherlands, and then the expedition divided and collapsed in the face of personal divisions, financial problems, and large-scale destruction of living plants and animals. Imperial patronage for a scientific expedition was expected to produce an increase in the Empire’s prestige through both the expansion of its collections in the gardens, menagerie, and natural history cabinet and its ability to support a grand international scientific endeavor. This paper will explore how the structure of the Habsburg Monarchy’s internal and international power led to some of the organizational failures of their Imperial Expedition.