Having trouble viewing this email? Click here.

Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News: May 2009
Celebrating the Class of 2009

Seniors, family members, faculty, trustees, and other members of the BU community joined together to celebrate BU’s 136th Commencement on Sunday,
May 17.

Learn More BU Overseer Robert Hildreth Pledges
$2 Million to CAS Writing Programs

Robert J. Hildreth, vice chair of Boston University’s Board of Overseers, has donated $2 million to Creative Writing Programs at the College of Arts & Sciences.

Learn More Student EMTs Save a Life

Kevin Field went to Commencement expecting to celebrate his daughter’s graduation and snap a few photos. But the auto mechanic from Sun City, Calif., instead became the center of attention for a few frightful minutes as his heart stopped beating and BU EMTs struggled to save his life. Thanks to EMTs Elizabeth Snow (CAS’11) and Alex Su (MET’11), Field is alive today.

Learn More And the Winners Are…

The winners of the 2008/2009 Templeton Prize for Excellence in Student Advising were announced at the April 29 faculty meeting. They are Paul Lipton, Center for Neuroscience; Katherine O’Connor, Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature; and John Snyder, Department of Chemistry.

Learn More CAS Faculty Win Coveted Fellowships

Each academic year, CAS faculty members receive fellowships from a range of institutions to further their research efforts.

Learn More

CAS Welcomes Additional Faculty

CAS has hired at least 30 new faculty this year, most of whom will begin their work at BU this fall. Now is the time to think about making sure they are welcomed and well-integrated into the University, CAS, and your department.
Learn more

Summer Fun for Chairs and Directors

Quite a few administrative tasks require attention by chairs and directors during the summer.
Learn more

cas·u·al  [kazh-oo-uhl] – adjective
Origin: 1325–75; ME < L cāsuālis, equiv. to cāsu(s) case 1 + -ālis -al 1

1. happening by chance; fortuitous.
2. without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing

4–5:30 p.m., CAS 106

  • Wednesday, June 10
  • Tuesday, July 7
  • Wednesday, July 29
  • Wednesday, August 19


The National Institutes of Health have awarded a five-year, $2 million grant to BJOERN REINHARD, assistant professor of chemistry, to probe the underlying mechanisms of the abnormal behavior of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) in cancerous cells. Because growth factors are overexpressed in many cancers, a molecular understanding of the EGFR activation mechanism will provide new opportunities for early cancer diagnosis and lead the way to developing efficient anti-cancer therapeutic strategies. Bjoern and his group have contributed significantly to research in the Department of Chemistry and at BU in the fields of nanoscience, photonics, and biological materials.
KAREN ALLEN, associate professor of chemistry and an internationally renowned crystallographer, along with BU graduate student Meng-Chiao Ho, post-doctoral associate Jean-Francois Menetret, and Hiro Tsuruta of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (a division of the National Accelerator Laboratory), published a paper in the May 21 online version of Nature. Titled “The Origin of the Electrostatic Perturbation in Acetoacetate Decarboxylase,” the paper highlights research that used x-ray crystallography to reveal the structural underpinnings of a widely-known enzyme, acetoacetate decarboxylase, that was first described more than 43 years ago. While earlier descriptions included how the enzyme accelerates its target reaction, there has never been a full explanation of how the reactions occur in the environment of the cell until the publishing of this paper. The breakthrough will have broad implications, from medicine to the protein engineering of new environmentally friendly “green” biofuels. To read the paper, click here.

In the News
Highlights of national news coverage received by CAS faculty


Many Americans Are Saying Goodbye to Religion, but Not Faith

“A survey out this week from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life challenges the conventional portrait of America's unchurched as a burgeoning society of proud secularists, atheists, and agnostics. Yes, the religiously unaffiliated are the fastest-growing religious group, the survey reports, accounting for nearly 1 in 6 Americans. But it turns out that the unaffiliated are much less antagonistic toward religion than previously thought. The new Pew survey finds that most Americans who were raised in religiously unaffiliated homes now belong to one religious tradition or another. And only a distinct minority of those who've left organized religion say that modern science has disproved religion, as many atheists believe. ‘There's this naive secularization theory that says when somebody becomes unaffiliated, they stay there because they've become adults and found that religion is silly,’ says Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor who analyzed the Pew survey. ‘But it turns out that you call them back the next year and they've joined a Lutheran church. They were just looking for the right fit.’”


Blue Collar Males Lose More Ground

“The fact that American males without a college degree are especially vulnerable in this cycle points to more hard times ahead for the U.S. working class, which has endured stagnant and declining wages for the last three decades. The skilled and semi-skilled jobs they traditionally held have been moving overseas to places like China and Vietnam. The jobs that remain pay less, amid declining union membership. One study by Julia Isaacs of the Brookings Institution think-tank found median U.S. family income rose to $53,280 by the middle of this decade in 2004 dollars from $37,384 in 1964. But for males aged 30 to 39, average annual personal income fell from the mid-1970s by around $5,000 to $35,000. The growth in family incomes is mostly from women entering the workforce. But during this recession that will hardly compensate given the scale of male job losses. This is grim news for struggling blue collar families. While women's role in the workforce has expanded, by some estimates the male remains the main breadwinner in about 75 percent of two-income U.S. households. ‘When males lose their jobs ... women become more important to family income, and those that have not been working will re-enter the labor market to sustain family income,’ said Peter Doeringer, a Professor of Economics at Boston University.”


McChrystal Represents a New Direction at the Pentagon and in Afghanistan

“By all accounts, Gen. David McKiernan did nothing wrong during his short tour as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. And it's not often that a general is removed in the middle of his tour. When Gen. George Casey floundered in Iraq, President Bush kept him on until the end of his tour and then promoted him to chief of staff of the Army. So Defense Secretary Robert Gates's announcement that McKiernan was asked to resign (fired, in military-ese) and would be replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal sent shock waves around the Pentagon.McKiernan was reportedly slow in agreeing with Gen. David Petraeus, head of Central Command, that the war should be viewed as primarily a battle to win allies rather than simply to defeat enemies. And by taking the dramatic step of removing McKiernan only 11 months into his 24-month tour, Gates, who emphasized that he made the move with President Obama's blessing, showed he wanted to shake things up. ‘Our mission there requires new thinking and new approaches from our military leaders,’ he said at the Pentagon news conference announcing the move. And analysts see McChrystal as fitting with the new approach. ‘McKiernan's removal confirms that it's now Petraeus's army. The conventional warriors are being washed out of the system. The unconventional warriors are in the saddle,’ said Andrew Bacevich, a military and international relations expert at Boston University.”

Upcoming Meetings and Events

Final Faculty Search Priorities Due to Dean Sapiro

Dean’s Summer Casual
4 p.m., CAS 106

Full Faculty Search Proposals Due to Dean Sapiro

Independence Day Observed (Offices Closed)

Dean’s Summer Casual, 4 p.m., CAS 106

Nominations for Peter Paul Career Development Awards and United Methodist Scholar/Teacher Award Due to Dean Sapiro

Dean’s Summer Casual
4 p.m., CAS 106

Dean’s Summer Casual
4 p.m., CAS 106

New Chairs and Directors Orientation
8:30 a.m.–noon, CAS 132

All Chairs and Directors Orientation
8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Photonics Colloquium Room

BU New Faculty Orientation

Matriculation Day

First Day of Classes

Keep Us in the Loop

Do you have events or activities you want to publicize? Please send them to cascom@bu.edu for inclusion in the e-newsletter.

Keep Students in the Loop

Do you have events or activities you want to publicize specially to students? Please send them to the CAS Weekly Newsletter for students at casevent@bu.edu.

Boston University

Boston University
Arts & Sciences
725 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215