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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News
Slater Family Endows Behavioral Economics Chair

BU overseer Kenneth Slater and his family have endowed a College of Arts & Sciences chair in behavioral economics, a field that explores, among other things, the ways that players in the financial market make decisions.

"As important as knowledge is about a particular area, what’s more important is what you do with that information," says Slater, a principal in Tremont Partners LLC, a financial advisory firm in Palm Springs, Flordia. "It’s worth learning more about the decision-making process."

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Jay Samons Announced as New NEH Distinguished Teaching Fellow

Chair of Classical Studies Jay Samons has received the Distinguished Teaching Fellowship (DTP) from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The professorship was established in 1993 by the NEH with a challenge grant that matched funds from alumni and friends of CAS/GRS and the Division of General Education. The professorship recognizes excellence in teaching by a prominent teacher-scholar associated with the Core Curriculum and funds undergraduate enrichment programs in the humanities.

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BU Researchers Identify Extensive Methane Leaks Under Streets of Boston

Earlier this year, Boston University researchers and collaborators conducted a mobile greenhouse gas audit in Boston and found hundreds of natural gas leaks under the streets and sidewalks of Greater Boston. Nathan Phillips, associate professor of geography & environment, and his research partners will present these and related findings at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Global Monitoring Annual Conference, May 17–18, in Boulder, Colorado.

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African Language Scholar Wins Guggenheim Fellowship

When he was growing up in Senegal, Fallou Ngom spoke six languages. He has applied his fascination with language toward cultivating knowledge of, and respect for, a written derivative of Arabic script called Ajami. Although long ignored by colonial powers and the West, Ajami is found in villages all over Senegal, Guinea, and Niger, where it remains a leading written language of commerce, legal documents, journals, even poetry.

Now the role of the College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of anthropology and director of the University's African Language Program in promoting Ajami has won him a 2011 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Read the entire BU Today article.

Mayor of Boston Honors CAS Student-Teachers in Roxbury Ceremony

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino visited Camfield Estates in Roxbury on May 4 to commend CAS students who have been teaching adult Roxbury residents to speak Spanish. Part of the Department of Romance Studies' "Voces Hispanicas/Hispanic Voices" project, the program brings Spanish language and culture to Roxbury adults and elderly residents who wish to learn a new language. The classes are particularly useful, as Roxbury includes many Spanish-speaking residents, and non-Spanish speakers often interact on a daily basis with Spanish-speakers.

The program has been running for three years. For the spring semester, 25 students were enrolled in three different classes, with each class taught by a Senior Teaching Fellow. The teachers were Arlene Ovalle-Child, Daniela Dorfman, and Maria Luisa Martinez. Certificates of Recognition from Mayor Menino were given to each of the teachers, to Romance Studies Chair Jim Iffland, and to Santander-Sovereign for encouraging and supporting the instruction of Spanish in the City of Boston.

View the slideshow.

Commencement is Coming!

Commencement Weekend is just around the corner, and it's time to honor graduating undergraduate and graduate students for the fine work they have done at CAS. CAS Class Day, where we recognize and honor our undergraduates who have earned special honors and distinctions, will take place on Saturday, May 21, at 3 p.m. in the George Sherman Union's Metcalf Hall. Click here for more information. The GRS PhD hooding is Friday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the GSU Metcalf Hall. For a full list of departmental convocations, click here. The All-University Commencement will take place on Sunday, May 22, at 1 p.m. at Nickerson Field. Click here for more details. For all other Commencement information, click here.

Summer Community for Faculty: Dean's Casuals

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

Once again, Gina Sapiro will be holding three "Dean's Summer Casuals" in her office, CAS 106, on Wednesday, June 8; Tuesday, July 12; and Tuesday, August 9, all from 4 to 5 p.m. These are informal gatherings aimed at faculty who happen to be working on campus during these summer days. As always, they are completely informal times to share a glass, catch up, and schmooze.

Tereasa Brainerd Accepts Post as Astronomy Chair

With Jim Jackson stepping back from chairing Astronomy due to his transition into the position of CAS Associate Dean for Research & Outreach, on the advice of the faculty of the department, Dean Sapiro asked Tereasa Brainerd to begin a three-year term as chair of Astronomy this summer. Professor Brainerd accepted the position. Congratulations, Tereasa, and hats off to you, Jim, for your dedicated years of leading the department. (And good luck in your next venture.)

New Course Offered on Mugar Manuscripts

This fall, the Editorial Institute at Boston University will expand its undergraduate offerings with a new course that works directly with the holdings of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Mugar Library. This course, Manuscripts @ Mugar, will provide undergraduates with the opportunity to explore and work directly with manuscripts, letters, and rare books in the archive's holdings in areas of their own personal interest to learn about the principles and practices that constitute editing. Attention will be paid to writer's revisions, to the modernizing of texts, and to annotation of many kinds and purposes. It is an excellent opportunity for the kind of "hands-on exploration and discovery" that is becoming more central to a Boston University undergraduate education.

Faculty Meetings and Deadlines

MAY 31
Deadline: CAS Curriculum Committees
Departments whose CAS curriculum committee representatives have terms that are expiring should inform Associate Dean Jackson of the new representatives.

Deadline for Final Proposals for Faculty Recruitment, 2011/12.
More Information. If you have questions, please contact Gareth McFeely (garethmc@bu.edu).

Dean's Summer Casuals
Faculty are invited to come catch up with their colleagues.
4–5 p.m., CAS 106

New Chairs/Directors Orientation
Location and time TBD


Chairs' Calendar

Lectures and Events

JUNE 10–12
Sustainability in the City
BU's inaugural Alumni College experience
An immersive learning experience for alums with lectures, field trips, lab experiences, and classroom discussions
More info

Full calendar


Writing Program Lecturer Michael Rodriguez's class, WR 150 The Colbert Report: American Satire, was featured on BU Today and on National Public Radio. Read the NPR article.

Joseph Wippl, a lecturer in the Department of International Relations, has been appointed the International Relations Department's first Professor of the Practice. Before joining the BU faculty in 2006 as a Government Executive in Residence, Wippl had a thirty-six year career in the Clandestine Service of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. During his career in the CIA, Wippl served as Chief of Station three times, as Chief of the Clandestine Service's Europe Division, as Director of Congressional Affairs, and as the Richard Helms Chair for Intelligence, among other assignments. In 2009, he was awarded the CIA's highest professional honor, the Gold Medallion for Service.

Wippl teaches classes on strategic intelligence, the National Clandestine Service, Congress and national security, and homeland security. He is also the Director of Graduate Studies for the department's MA program and has served as acting director of the Center for International Relations.

Retiring Lecturer Laura Raffo received a commendation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives for her service promoting Italian culture during her years at Boston University. The commendation was signed by House Speaker Robert De Leo. Raffo is the course coordinator for Italian in the Department of Romance Studies.

Keep Us in the Loop

Let us know about news or upcoming events. Please send news items to cascom@bu.edu, or call Patrick Farrell at 617-358-1185. Announcements about upcoming events can also be submitted online. Events geared toward students should be submitted to the Student Programs Office.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Relations Kirsten Lundeen at 617-358-5525 or Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Lauren Hall at 617-353-1060.

Boston University

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