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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News
1998–2008: A Dimmer Switch on Global Warming

The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide increased steadily between 1998 and 2008, but Earth’s temperature declined. Why? Chair of Geography & Environment Robert Kaufmann, along with three colleagues from other institutions, recently published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that answers this question.

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CAS Summer Research Scholars

The College of Arts & Sciences once again has provided funding to support the work of outstanding CAS undergraduates engaging in research during the summer through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). These funds provide stipends that allow students to devote intensive time to their research. CAS faculty members volunteer their time to serve as mentors to these students, and together they constitute a real “honor roll” of dedicated scholar/teachers.

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Probing the Nature of Forgiveness

The murder of Lauren Astley, 18, has horrified her hometown of Wayland, Mass. Police say her ex-boyfriend, Nathaniel Fujita, killed her on July 3 following troubles in their relationship. He has pleaded not guilty. Charles Griswold, a Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy and author of Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration, gave BU Today his take on the issues raised by the Astley case.

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CAS Psychology Alum Trains Sea Lions as Aqua Cops

Daniell Hepting isn’t a criminal, but she played one last year. She was among several swimmers treading the tea-colored waters of San Francisco Bay as part of a demonstration on the city’s emergency response program. One minute she was floating freely, the next thing she knew a leg cuff had been snapped on her thigh.

The underwater "cop" who cuffed her? A California sea lion.

"It’s a lot of fun," says Hepting (CAS'89), one of the sea lion’s trainers. "It’s almost like an advanced game of hide-and-seek."

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Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist

Professor Emeritus Peter Berger’s new memoir, Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist: How to Explain the World Without Becoming a Bore (Prometheus, 2011), is full of colorful descriptions of his life’s adventures, including how taking a night class on Balzac infected him with the bug of sociology—“an endless curiosity about every aspect of human behavior.”

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Event to Probe Natural Gas Leaks

On September 23 from 9 a.m.to 1 p.m., Professor Nathan Philips, Director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Studies, and BU’s Sustainable Cities Initiative will lead a discussion on natural gas leaks in Boston and its suburbs. Philips and his colleagues found hundreds of natural gas leaks in Greater Boston when they conducted a mobile greenhouse gas audit earlier this year.

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Ali Bane Takes Helm of Student Programs & Leadership

CAS is delighted to welcome Ali Bane as Director of the Student Programs & Leadership Office. Student Programs & Leadership provides links to an enriched academic life for students in the College of Arts & Sciences. It also helps students navigate BU and plan for life after college by developing programs and events that connect students to their classmates and professors.

Ali comes to BU with extensive experience working in student affairs and first-year programs at three different Boston-area campuses. Hailing most recently from the U.S. Department of Education, she is passionately committed to helping students successfully transition to college and providing them with the support they need to thrive. Ali received her BA in theater arts and communication from Boston College and her graduate degree in higher education administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Green Office Certification Program Comes to CAS

In May 2010, Boston University’s Energy Conservation and Sustainable Buildings & Operations Working Groups created a task force to address the impact of the behavior of faculty, staff, and students on sustainability. From this task force emerged the Green Office Certification. After months of planning and re-piloting, sustainability@BU launched the Green Office Certification initiative in March 2011 to both the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus. Individuals can achieve a Certified, Silver, or Gold rating depending on the amount of points earned. Once certified, participants receive a badge to display on their office name plaques. Please contact us at GreenOffice@bu.edu if you are interested in getting your office certified. Visit us here. Read more..

Critical Language Scholarship Opportunities for Foreign Language Study

There are many nationally based scholarship opportunities available for students of languages deemed important for national security or “Critical Languages.” Particularly common are opportunities for intensive summer language programs or language and research travel experiences for those at the intermediate level. Feel free to let your students know about these exciting opportunities. Read more..

Faculty Meetings and Deadlines

Dean's Summer Casuals
CAS faculty who happen to be working on campus that day are invited to come and catch up with their colleagues.
4–5 p.m., CAS 106

New Chairs & Directors Orientation
8 a.m., Photonics Colloquium Room, 9th floor


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's New Directions Fellowships
Nominations due this date in the Dean's office.

New Directions Fellowships assist faculty members in the humanities, broadly understood to include the arts, history, languages, area studies, and zones of such fields as anthropology and geography that bridge the humanities and social sciences, who seek to acquire systematic training outside their own areas of special interest. The program is intended to enable strong scholars in the humanities to work on problems that interest them most, at an appropriately advanced level of sophistication. In addition to facilitating the work of individual faculty members, these awards should benefit humanistic scholarship more generally by encouraging the highest standards in cross-disciplinary research.

For details, visit here

CCD Meeting
4 p.m., Location TBD

Faculty Meeting and Reception
4 p.m., Location TBD

Chairs' Calendar

Department Spotlight: History

In this section, we check in with each academic department to learn what is going on in their neck of the CAS woods.

Boasting a highly productive and distinguished faculty, a commitment to excellence in research and pedagogy and top-class programs in several different fields, the BU History Department is gaining increased renown in several key areas. In particular, the department displays potential for leadership and international recognition in: Boston and the Atlantic World (a key component of BU’s larger effort to become “Boston’s University”), African and African American History, American Political History, and the Twentieth Century History Initiative.

The department recently launched new partnerships with the School of Law (a joint JD-MA program in Law and History) and the College of Communication (a team-taught course called “Drafts of History: Journalism and Historical Revision”), as well as a professional development program for teachers in the Boston Public Schools.


Professor of History Thomas Glick recently published a book titled What About Darwin? The book traces the impact of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution on the cultures of England, the United States, and other nations. It also examines the reactions of Darwin’s contemporaries to his theory and to him as a person. Evolution New published a review of the book.

The American Sociological Association (ASA) is benefitting from an infusion of leadership from Boston University. Associate Professor of Sociology Julian Go has been elected to chair the Comparative and Historical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association for 2011–12. Assistant Professor Laurel Smith-Doerr has been elected as a Member-at-Large on the national council of the ASA, and Assistant Professor Cati Connell will serve on the Sex and Gender Section’s Sally Hacker Award Committee. These new ASA officers join Associate Professor Nazli Kibria, who is currently serving on the ASA Nominations Committee and as a council member in the Migrations Section, as well as Associate Professor Alya Guseva, who is serving on the council of the Economic Sociology section.

Professor of Biology Richard Primack received a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology for his extraordinary contribution to conservation education worldwide through his textbooks in English and 27 locally adapted textbooks in other languages. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding individuals, groups, or institutions whose work has furthered the mission of the Society for Conservation Biology to advance the science and practice of conserving Earth’s biological diversity. Primack will also be appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Tropical Biology and Conservation at their meeting next June in Brazil.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Susanne Sreedhar received a fellowship from the National Humanities Center for the 2011–2012 year. She will be one of 32 leading scholars to come to the center from the faculties of 21 colleges and universities in 10 states and also from universities in South Africa and the United Kingdom. The National Humanities Center will award nearly $1,500,000 in individual fellowship grants to enable scholars to take leave from their normal academic duties and pursue research at the center.

Professor of Romance Studies Carol Neidle and Professor of Computer Science and Chair Stan Sclaroff have been notified of significant National Science Foundation funding this summer for three innovative, collaborative research projects.
Neidle is the PI for the following two grants in partnership with researchers at Rutgers University and the City University of New York: "III: Medium: Collaborative Research: Linguistically Based ASL Sign Recognition As A Structured Multivariate Learning Problem" ($8,000 REU supplement to an existing $461,000 grant), and “HCC: Medium: Collaborative Research: Generating Accurate, Understandable Sign Language Animations Based on Analysis of Human Signing" ($385,957).
Neidle and Sclaroff are co-PIs on a third collaborative project, "Collaborative Research: CI-ADDO-EN: Development of Publicly Available, Easily Searchable, Linguistically Analyzed, Video Corpora for Sign Language and Gesture Research," with researchers from Rutgers, Gallaudet University and the University of Texas, Arlington, which has been funded at $368,205.

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

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