UNH Research Finds Majority of Americans Trust NASA on Climate Change

June 13, 2017

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Article Source: UNH Media Relations

Seventy-three percent of Americans trust science agencies like NASA for information about climate change, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH. This includes a substantial majority within every political group.

In addition, a follow-up survey by the researchers found more than 80 percent of survey respondents – again including majorities in all political groups – favor continuing or expanding NASA’s Earth observations programs rather than cutting them.

“NASA and scientists in general know they face challenges in communicating the results, reasoning and importance of their work to the public,” the researchers said. “That is true now more than ever, as the scientific community interacts with a Trump administration that has been widely dismissive of science. As NASA scientists continue to carry out and communicate Earth observations, efforts to curtail their work will not find a sympathetic public, even among partisans.”

Original data was collected for the nationwide Polar, Environment and Sciences (POLES) survey conducted just after the election and for a statewide follow-up survey in May. Similarly, high trust in NASA climate science was found on a separate survey conducted last August. The full report can be found here: https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/eyes-earth

The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, UNH professor of sociology and senior Carsey fellow; Jessica Brunacini, assistant director of the Polar Learning and Responding (PoLAR) Climate Change Education Partnership at the Earth Institute of Columbia University; and Stephanie Pfirman, Hirschorn professor of environmental sciences at Barnard College, Columbia University, and director of PoLAR.


COLA Faculty Awarded Professorships

March 30, 2017

photo of Murkland courtyard

Five faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts have received professorship awards, effective July 2017.

University professorships are supported through the generosity of donors and awarded to faculty members who have demonstrated the highest levels of excellence in teaching, scholarship (including the creative arts) and service over an extended period of time. The UNH provost awards professorships based on nominations from deans. Each professorship carries a 3-year term.

photo of Michele Dillon

Michele Dillon of the department of sociology will be the Class of 1944 Professor. The award recognizes an outstanding faculty member.

photo of Kurk Dorsey

Kurk Dorsey of the department of history will be the Class of 1938 Professor. Established by alumni from that class, this award recognizes excellence in teaching.

photo of Nora Draper

Nora Draper of the communication department will be the Roland H. O’Neal Professor. Established by Virginia O’Neal in memory of her husband, who was a member of the UNH Class of 1934, this award recognizes an outstanding untenured member of the teaching faculty.

Photo of Ken Johnson

Kenneth Johnson of the department of sociology will be the Class of 1940 Professor. This professorship, established in honor of the 50th reunion of the Class of 1940, recognizes a UNH faculty member for outstanding interdisciplinary teaching and research. Johnson is also a senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy.

photo of Mary Stampone

Mary Stampone of the department of geography will be the
 Class of 1941 Professor. Established with a gift from that class, this award recognizes outstanding teaching, research or public service, especially from an international perspective.


Innovator of the Week: Sharyn Potter

February 6, 2017

Sharyn Potter

Sharyn Potter, associate professor of sociology and executive director of research for Prevention Innovations Research Center, was recently featured as Innovator of the Week on the Live Free and Start website.

Live Free and Start is a joint initiative of the N.H. Governor’s Office, the Business Finance Authority and the Department of Resources and Economic Development aimed at creating jobs and making New Hampshire the place for innovative businesses to start, grow and succeed.

Potter was highlighted for her leadership in developing the innovative uSafeNH free smartphone application (app), which launched this past fall. The app was created to prevent sexual assault on New Hampshire campuses by providing victims and their allies with access to immediate assistance and resources. It is available to students at 26 of the state’s colleges and universities.

Several organizations partnered to create the uSafeNH app: Prevention Innovations Research Center, the STEM Discovery Lab at UNH Manchester, N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, NH Violence Against Women Campus Consortium, and N.H. SART Project at the Attorney General’s Office. The effort won a $25,000 prize from the N.H. Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurs’ Fund that helped the team complete development and testing of the app.

In August 2017, the uSafeUS app will launch, expanding the app’s reach to campuses up and down the East Coast. uSafeUS won third prize at the UNH Social Venture Innovation Challenge in December 2016. An anonymous donor matched the third prize money, enabling Potter and the team to market uSafeUS.

“The mobile app developed by faculty researchers and community practitioners from around the state is an example of how UNH continues to meet their land grant commitment by collaboratively developing solutions for societal problems,” says Potter.

Learn more at Live Free and Start website.


UNH Research Finds Trump Voters Stand Apart on Renewable Energy and Climate

February 2, 2017

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Only 25 percent of those who say they voted for Donald Trump agree with the scientific consensus that human activities are changing Earth’s climate, according to new survey research at UNH. In contrast, large majorities of Clinton voters as well as third-party voters and nonvoters believe humans are causing climate change and want to see renewable energy development be a priority.

Climate change received little media attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, but recent surveys indicate that climate change and related energy issues are taken seriously by a growing majority of the public. Almost three-fourths of Americans surveyed after the election said that renewable energy should be a higher national priority than more drilling for oil and about two-thirds agree with the scientific consensus that humans are changing Earth’s climate.

“We saw a common theme when talking about what actions those surveyed wanted to see to reduce the risks of climate change,” said Larry Hamilton, professor of sociology and a senior Carsey fellow. “While renewable energy and lifestyle changes were popular, cap-and-trade and carbon tax were not. Overall, Trump voters are much less likely than other voter groups to support any action to reduce the risks of climate change.”

“Although public recognition and a sense of urgency lag behind science, they are measurably rising,” Hamilton added. “Given the outcome of the 2016 election and the belief patterns seen in these surveys, the willingness of the U.S. to respond is in question.”

The full report can be found here: https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/energy-climate-trump.


Liberal Arts Students Awarded Gilman International Scholarships

August 10, 2016
ulia Krank ’17 (left) and Patrick Sullivan ’17 (right)

Julia Krank ’17 (left) and Patrick Sullivan ’17 (right)

UNH College of Liberal Arts (COLA) students Julia Krank ’17, a dual psychology and justice studies major, and Patrick Sullivan ’17, a dual sociology and justice studies major, are two of approximately 850 American undergraduate students from 324 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Both Krank and Sullivan will be studying abroad this fall semester through the UNH COLA-managed justice studies program in Budapest, Hungary, that allows students to deepen their knowledge of modern European justice systems. Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship abroad costs. UNH student Kimberly Lavoie ’18, a wildlife and conservation biology major, also received a Gilman Scholarship.

UNH students can receive support on their Gilman applications from the Office of National Fellowships. For more information, contact Laura Perille.


Passing: Murray A. Straus

May 17, 2016
Murray A. Straus

Murray A. Straus

By David Finkelhor, UNH Professor of Sociology:

Murray Straus, an internationally influential former professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and founder of the field of family violence research, died May 13, 2016 at the age of 89.

Beginning in the 1970s, his surveys established that people were far more likely to be assaulted and injured by members of their own family than they were by strangers, fundamentally changing popular and academic conceptions about crime and crime prevention.

He devoted much of his later career to the study of spanking and corporal punishment, accumulating evidence that spanking was associated with increased subsequent aggression among children and reduced warmth between them and their parents, among other negative side effects.

He pioneered techniques for getting information about sensitive topics such as being the victim or perpetrator of family violence in national household and telephone surveys. His Conflict Tactics Scale, which he revised over the years, became the standard approach for gathering information about child and spouse abuse and one of the more widely used instruments in social science.

His findings led him to the conclusion that, although women suffered more serious consequences than men from domestic aggression, women perpetrated a considerable amount of violence in intimate relationships that also needed to be addressed in public policy if families were to be made safe.

Early in his career he specialized in rural sociology and the measurement of family interaction.

He became interested in family violence as a result of planning a meeting of the National Council of Family Relations in Chicago, Illinois, in 1968 in the wake of police brutality there at the Democratic Convention.

He decided that to engage with the issues of the day, they needed to assemble a panel on the connection between families and societal violence. He went on to show that people exposed to violence in their families of origin were considerably more likely to engage in violence as adults and to support public policies such as capital punishment and military intervention.

He was of the opinion that spanking, even when used in moderation, taught that hitting and violence were appropriate and even necessary responses when a person believed someone else’s misbehavior needed correction. He concluded, based on his research, that parents should be taught to never spank children. He strongly endorsed and provided much of the scientific evidence to back efforts to ban corporal punishment, a ban which has been adopted by more than four dozen countries.

Straus spent most of his career, from 1968 until his death, at UNH, much of it as director of the Family Research Laboratory, after previous positions at Washington State University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell and the University of Minnesota. He received his bachelor’s and doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin.

He was an energetic and prolific scholar, authoring 15 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. Among the most widely cited were “Behind Closed Doors” and “Beating the Devil Out of Them.”

He was also a devoted teacher who trained and mentored dozens of scholars, including many of the current luminaries in the field of family violence, as director for 30 years of a post-doctoral fellowship program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

He served as president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the National Council on Family Relations and the Eastern Sociological Society and was active in numerous other academic organizations.

He was the recipient of many awards, including from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Sociological Association.

He was known as a warm and engaging person who enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and supervising students. He assembled two large international consortia, involving dozens of scholars in more than 30 countries to conduct cross-national comparative surveys on dating violence and parental disciplinary practices.

Straus was born in New York City on June 18, 1926, to Samuel and Kathleen (Miller) Straus.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Dunn Straus; his children by a previous marriage, Carol Straus and Dr. John Straus; his stepchildren David Dunn and wife Kathy, Lisa Dunn, Thomas Dunn and wife Linda; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A memorial to commemorate his life and work is planned for July 11 in conjunction with the International Conference on Family Violence and Child Victimization Research to be held at the Portsmouth Sheraton. All members of the community are welcome.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Family Research Lab Projects Fund, with checks made out to UNH Foundation and referencing Murray Straus, and mailed to:

Family Research Lab Projects Fund
c/o UNH Foundation
9 Edgewood Road
Durham, NH 03824

Article source: UNH Today


Ken Johnson Named Carnegie Fellow

April 19, 2016

Ken Johnson

UNH professor of sociology Kenneth Johnson has been named a 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. He is among just 33 scholars nationwide selected to receive the country’s most generous and most prestigious fellowships to advance research in the social sciences and humanities.

Fellows receive up to $200,000 from the Carnegie Corporation to fund scholarly research and writing aimed at addressing some of the world’s most urgent challenges to U.S. democracy and international order. As a fellow, Johnson will advance and expand his work on the changing demographic structure of rural America and its implications. He’ll mine demographic data for insights into the impact of the Great Recession and an influx of Hispanics on rural America.

Read more.


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