Dan Bergstresser and Eric Nierenberg have been honored with the 2013 Faculty Teaching Awards at Brandeis International Business School.
An associate professor of finance, Bergstresser teaches classes in fixed income securities, corporate financial engineering and venture capital. His research focuses on municipal finance and the impact of taxation, regulation, and market structure on financial markets. In 2006 and 2007, he worked for the investment manager Barclays Global Investors, serving in London as head of European credit research. He earned a PhD in economics at MIT and an AB at Stanford University.
“What he teaches in class is not only the theories, but the practical skills to manage portfolio risk and react properly to market changes,” wrote one student in the school’s end-of-year course evaluations. “He teaches thinking patterns that help students understand and not just memorize.”
Nierenberg, an adjunct professor, teaches courses in investments, international portfolio management and options and derivatives. This past fall he was chosen to serve as senior investment officer for the Massachusetts state pension board, where he oversees the board’s hedge fund strategies. He holds an AB and a PhD in business economics from Harvard University and is a former portfolio co-manager at Lee Munder Capital Group.
“Options and derivatives have always been intimidating subjects to many students, but in Professor Nierenberg’s class, we get a sort of bottom-up understanding of these concepts,” wrote a student. “He also shares with us his experiences with the state pension fund, which gives us a further understanding of a different realm of the finance world.”
Assistant Professor of Psychology Angela Gutchess won this year’s Wellington Lottery Prize of $2,000 at the final faculty meeting of the semester. Now all she has to do is figure out how to spend it.
The Wellington Prize was created 20 years ago by an anonymous donor, according to a university donor relations officer, "to enliven the spirits and delight the senses of assistant professors.”
The donor made three stipulations: The lottery must be conducted publicly before the assembled faculty at the academic year's last faculty meeting; the prize money may not be used for purposes of normal scholarly advancement and the winner is obligated to present an accurate account of how he or she made use of the funds over the summer at the first faculty meeting following use of the bequest.
Winners are encouraged to use their imagination and do something out of the ordinary that they may have dreamed of but dismissed as irrelevant to their immediate and pressing career concerns.
“So the pressure is on,” Gutchess said shortly after learning her name had been drawn. “People have come up with really creative things” in the past.
But the prize also may help relieve other pressures.
“This is good timing,” said Gutchess, who has been at Brandeis for six years. “My tenure packet is due as soon as possible, and I’ve been particularly stressed out the past few weeks.”
“Right-Wing Radicalism Today: Perspectives from Europe and the US” is a new volume of articles edited by Sabine von Mering, and Timothy Wyman McCarty and published this month.
Von Mering is associate professor of German and Women's Studies and Director of the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis. McCarty received his PhD in politics from Brandeis University in 2011. He is currently visiting assistant professor of government at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The book grew out of the conference “New Right-Wing Radicalism: A Transatlantic Perspective,” held at Brandeis in spring of 2009 and organized by the Center for German and European Studies. More information about the book here and about the conference here.
The book highlights recent developments on the radical right and provides comparative analysis of current radical and extremist activity in Eastern and Western Europe and the United States. It reveals growing connections and continuities of right-wing movements and ideologies across national borders, and addresses questions such as:
- Who joins radical right parties and why?
- What are recent developments in right-wing parties in Eastern and Western Europe?
- What is the extent of transatlantic cross-fertilization of far right ideology?
- How has the US extreme right changed since the emergence of the Tea Party movement?
For years, Michael Dowling heard about Cynthia Cohen, director of Brandeis’ program in Peacebuilding and the Arts. Every where he went, from downtown Boston to the border of Northern Ireland, he was asked, “Do you know Cynthia?”
Dowling is the artistic director and founder of the nonprofit Medicine Wheel Productions, which is dedicated to building communities and promoting justice through public art. When he finally met Cohen three years ago, it was like meeting “a long-lost sister,” Dowling recalled.
Dowling will honor Cohen for her work exploring the intersection of art and peace with his organization’s Medicine Woman Award on June 5 in South Boston.
“We wanted to honor someone who takes a leap to use the arts in order to have a cultural impact,” said Dowling. “Whose work has an impact that is lasting and meaningful and that’s Cynthia.”
Cohen, who teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels, has written extensively on coexistence, reconciliation and peace building. She has worked with communities in the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Central America. Cohen is the first Brandeis professor to be honored by Medicine Wheel Productions in its 13-year history.
For more information on the event, contact Michael Dowling or call 617-268-6700.
Jennifer Margulis, an award-winning author and senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis, will discuss her new book, “The Business of Baby” (April 2013, Scribner) at Back Pages Books Thursday.
Her book addresses whether American doctors and hospitals are choosing corporate interests over the health of mothers and babies. Using a combination of investigative reporting and personal narrative, Margulis shows that commonly accepted “best practices” in pregnancy and infant care, including routine and frequent ultrasound examinations, C-sections, and potty-training timelines, often are not based on evidence-based medical research but instead are unduly influenced by corporate profit margins and may be putting the health of infants and mothers at risk. Other disturbing findings come to light involving ultrasound scans and circumcision procedures, hospital reporting that should be mandatory, but is not, and more.
Her East Coast book launch will be held Back Pages Books at 289 Moody St., Waltham, on Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m. She will discuss research she did and mothers and doctors she talked to who informed “The Business of Baby.” Books will be available for purchase and signing. Light refreshments will be served.
Marc Brettler, the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies, has been elected fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, the oldest professional organization of Judaica scholars in North America.
Brettler has written and edited numerous books on the Bible, including “The Jewish Annotated New Testament” in 2011, “How to Read the Jewish Bible” in 2007 and “The Jewish Study Bible” in 2004. His latest co-authored book is “The Bible and the Believer.”
Brettler is a recipient of Brandeis’ Michael L. Walzer Award for Excellence in Teaching, and holds three Brandeis degrees, having earned his BA and MA in 1978 and his PhD in 1986. He joins three other Brandeisians in the fellowship: Jonathan Sarna, PhD, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History; President emeritus Jehuda Reinharz, the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History; and Benjamin Ravid, professor emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.
The American Academy of Jewish Research sponsors the Salo Baron Prize for the best first book in Judaic studies, a biennial retreat for the fellows, workshops for graduate students and early career faculty in Judaic studies and academic sessions at the annual meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies.
All students returning to the university for fall semester with a motor vehicle should complete an application for a parking permit before leaving for the summer. Applications are now being accepted and are available on line.
The application should be completed with information applicable to the student's status in the upcoming academic year. Applications lacking required information will not be processed.
Parking permits will be issued to juniors and senior students only unless the student is a commuter. First year and sophomore students are not allowed to have cars on campus unless they are commuters.
The permit fees for the academic year 2013-2014 are: Charles River $60, Commuter $120 and Residence $250.
All resident students who will be operating a motor vehicle on campus during fall semester 2013 should complete the application. Parking permits are issued on the basis of class year and a timely filing of the application.
All commuting students who will be operating a motor vehicle on campus during the fall ’13 semester also should complete an application prior to leaving for the summer break.
E-mail information will be sent during the beginning of next semester outlining dates and times for permit issuance. Only those students who have pre-registered for parking will have a permit waiting for pick up.
Any questions may be addressed to the Parking & Traffic Manager at extension 6-4250 or by e-mail.
Stephen J. Whitfield, PhD, the Max Richter Professor of American Civilization, will receive the Brandeis National Committee’s 2013 Sachar Award.
This award, named in honor of Brandeis’ founding president Abram L. Sachar, is given to a person of outstanding achievement in the field of education. Whitfield is recognized for his commitment to education and dedication to teaching and mentoring, and for his generous spirit and uncommon collegiality to all.
A creative historian, scholar and educator, Whitfield writes about American popular culture in a manner that is academically sound, yet readable and entertaining. He has visited every Brandeis National Committee chapter in the country. In addition, he has written materials for BNC study-group programs.
The campus community is invited to celebrate Whitfield at the Sachar Award ceremony from 1:15 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, in Rapaporte Treasure Hall. Please RSVP by May 24 to Debbie LaBarge by e-mail or by calling (781) 736-7588.
The Brandeis National Committee provides philanthropic support to the university. In more than 50 chapters across the country, its membership is connected to Brandeis through fundraising, lifelong learning and activities that reflect the values on which the university was founded: academic excellence, social justice, and nonsectarianism. Visit the BNC website for more information.
The U.S. Department of State recently awarded John Nunes ’13 a Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian for seven to ten weeks this summer of 2013. He will be studying in Russia.
Nunes, a Russian studies major, is one of 610 undergraduate and graduate students nationwide who received Critical Language Scholarships. The summer program will provide fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction along with cultural enrichment opportunities.
“I’m looking to improve my language skills through the program’s intensive curriculum and exposure to authentic colloquial Russian,” said Nunes. “This will be my first time in the country, so I’m also looking forward to encountering the culture and experiences Russia has to offer.”
Improving his language ability will also help Nunes with his research in contemporary Slavic paganism, he said.
A student group from Kansas State University have won the national student philanthropy competition Generous U, which is run annually by Brandeis’ Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy.
The 5,000 prize was awarded for the philanthropy program K-State Proud, which gives grants to students at risk of dropping out for financial reasons.
Generous U, which was established in 2009, recognizes university students who grow philanthropy and philanthropic values on their campus.
The Kansas State group was selected from a pool of 48 student entries nationwide — up from 21 last year. Three runner-up entrants, from the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oklahoma, were awarded $1,000 each. Each submission required an essay and a companion video explaining the philanthropic program.
“The Generous U contest taps into the basic human impulse to give and rewards students able to organize and broaden on-campus philanthropy,” said Claudia Jacobs, who spearheads the contest at the Sillerman Center, which is based at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.
The Kansas State philanthropy program started in 2006. Over the last seven years, it has raised $650,000, much of it from student donations. With this money, the Kansas State Student Foundation allocates “opportunity awards” to students who have exhausted all other forms of financial assistance to complete their education. Philanthropists, business people, university educators, and undergraduate and graduate students reviewed the video and essay submissions, ranking each on innovation, creativity, sustainability and its promise to broaden philanthropy among students. Student clubs and groups use the cash awards to strengthen their campus organization and expand their charitable work.
The Sillerman Center was founded and endowed by Robert’69 and Laura Sillerman in 2008. Its mission is to strengthen social justice philanthropy while broadening the process so that all kinds of people — young and old, rich and poor — participate in giving. Based at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, the Center engages in research, education, leadership development and improving the practice of philanthropy. The Center sponsors two popular courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels where students act as grant makers and learn how to distribute thousands of dollars to local non- profits.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has honored teaching fellows from around the university based on their overall teaching excellence, student and course instructor evaluations and letters from faculty.
Award recipients were recognized at this year's Teaching Fellows Award Reception.
Honorees are,in alphabetical order, Rachel Shaina Bernstein, Near Eastern & Judaic Studies; Mike Carr, Mathematics; Daesik Cha, Musicology; Victoria Cheah, Music Composition & Theory; Margaret Clendenen, Sociology; Aisha Dad, Ancient Greek & Roman Studies; Jessica Emory, Organic Chemistry; Deirdra Evers, General Chemistry; John Hannigan, History; Matt Isaacs, Politics; Ariel Meave, Anthropology; Jonathan Napoline, Upper Level Chemistry; Betsy Nelson, Women's & Gender Studies; Cory Nelson, University Writing Seminar; Adriane Otopalik, Life Sciences, winner of the Pulin Sampat Memorial Award; Nicole Rosa, Psychology, winner of the Verna Regan Award; Sumantra Sarkar, Physics; Caitlin Taborda, Sociology, and Conley Wouters, English.
Students from the Chinese and Russian language programs won the first Multilingual Student Video Festival competition.
“Dream Girl,” by Aya Abdelaziz and Ben Lovenheim of the Chinese Language Program won first place.
The second-place video, by Russian Language Program students Ellyn Sherman, Tiffany Johnson and Suzanne Rothman, was “Secret Love.”
The Foreign Language Oversight Committee, a group consisting of representatives from each Brandeis foreign language program, hosted the festival for the first time April 25.
Students from each language program at Brandeis (Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian) presented videos demonstrating their growth in their first year of language study at Brandeis. In each participating language, all of the level-20 courses selected one video to represent their language group at the festival.
A jury panel consisting of faculty members, Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Elaine Wong and the French and Spanish undergraduate departmental representatives selected the winners.