Friday, August 31, 2007

Thank you, donor!

We got a note from the library saying that they received a donation to be spent on additional political science books for the collection. I don't know if that donor is a blog reader, but if you are, many thanks--we appreciate the ongoing support that many of you provide to the university, whether through donations, volunteer work, or simply spreading the good name of our school.

That said, yesterday was the Fall Faculty Conversation, where President Thomas and other members of the administration provide a kind of "state of the campus" address. I will blog with some of the main points next week and let you know how we're doing and what challenges lie ahead.

Have a great Labor Day.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Idealism and Grad School writes about their upcoming grad school fairs, Graduate Degrees for the Public Good. They write:

"These fairs are a resource for all new, aspiring, and mid-career nonprofit and public service professionals who want to learn more about their graduate education options."

You can find all the details at for the dates across the country. Seattle is on October 23, at Seattle University, and there will be over 80 organizations present, including:

American University School of International Service
AustraLearn: Study in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific
Bard Center for Environmental Policy-New York
Carnegie Mellon University H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management
Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service MA Programs
Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government
International Organizations MBA - University of Geneva (Switzerland)
Master of Arts in Policy Studies (UW Bothell)
Masters degree program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, University of Oregon
Monterey Institute of International Studies
National Urban Fellows, Inc.
New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Pacific School of Religion
Pepperdine University School of Public Policy
School of Public and Environmental Affairs - Indiana University
Thunderbird School of Global Management
University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies
University of Melbourne - Faculty of Arts
University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies
Willamette University MBA for Business, Government and Not-for-Profit Management

If you plan to go, would you let me know in case you or anyone else needs a ride?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Global Youth Connect

Forwarded by Professor Share. Interesting?

Global Youth Connect

Human Rights Delegations for Young Leaders -- Winter 2007-2008

Program Locations: El Salvador & Rwanda
Application Deadline: September 21, 2007

Global Youth Connect , an international human rights organization, is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications from young leaders (ages 18-25) for our Winter 2007-2008 International Human Rights Delegations. Program locations include: El Salvador and Rwanda.

Human rights delegations are a unique, first-hand opportunity to cross cultural boundaries and learn about the daily reality of human rights as experienced in a complex and increasingly globalized world. Each delegation weaves together three core sets of activities: site visits to local organizations, hands-on fieldwork projects, and a human rights training workshop with local youth activists.

El Salvador (January 1 -- January 13, 2008)
Program Tuition: $1,635

This delegation will explore the roots of El Salvador ’s 12-year civil war, the long-term impact of the war on Salvadoran society, and the continued persistence of long-standing economic and social inequities that have fueled conflict throughout this tiny nation’s history. Delegation participants will come to understand current social, political, and economic problems faced by Salvadoran society within a broader historical context—including the impact of past and present U.S foreign policies on the lives of Salvadorans. Delegation activities will focus in particular on the efforts of human rights activists and youth to recover from a tumultuous and devastating period of violence and repression, and build a more just, equitable, and peaceful society. Spanish proficiency is required.

Rwanda (December 29, 2007 - January 13, 2008)
Program Tuition: $1,795

This delegation will explore the roots of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, how this legacy of violence has impacted the country and its people, particularly Rwandan youth, and also how the country is attempting to rebuild today. We will examine issues of truth, justice and reconciliation in the context of post-conflict Rwanda and what is needed to strengthen local institutions and programs dedicated to promoting a culture of respect for human rights. Participants will connect with young Rwandans and get involved in a variety of collaborative projects aimed at promoting human rights as well as meet with leading human rights defenders, government representatives, international institutions, youth and others from local communities to learn more about the political, economic and social challenges faced by Rwandans today.

Application Deadline: September 21, 2007

How to Apply: We invite interested young leaders to apply. We are looking for participants who are between the ages of 18-25 and who possess U.S. citizenship or residency as well as international students studying full-time at a U.S. college or university. Most importantly, applicants should wish to expand their knowledge and understanding of human rights and social justice. Participants will become part of a growing global movement of youth acting together for compassion, human rights and responsibility.

For detailed information on program activities, costs, fundraising/financial aid, and application information, please visit our website:

Best wishes,
Jennifer Kloes
Executive Director
Global Youth Connect
Acting together for compassion, human rights and responsibility


Q and A: Visiting Professor Eric Williams

This fall we have the pleasure of working with Professor Eric Williams, who is filling in for Professor Haltom while he is on sabbatical. I asked Professor Williams if he'd submit to a few nosy questions:


Where are you from, where did you go to school?

I grew up in Bangor, Maine and did my undergraduate work at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I did my graduate work at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. If you haven't had the pleasure of visiting New Jersey yet, don't worry. You're not missing much.

What are you writing your dissertation on?

For my dissertation, I'm studying the relationship between prisons and the local government in two rural communities that lobbied for prisons as an economic development strategy. I spent a year and a half living in Beeville, Texas and Florence Colorado interviewing prison officials, governmental officials and community residents. Beeville has three Texas state prisons and Florence has four federal facilities including the federal supermax prison where the federal government holds its most dangerous inmates, including the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski and the men that carried out the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Richard Reid, the man who tried to light a shoe bomb on a plane in 2001 is also there. All told, I spent time in 19 different prisons in Colorado and Texas, a fact that makes my family very proud.

What are you teaching this semester, and what kind of topics are you going to focus on?

I'm teaching Law and Society, Constitutional Law and Introduction to US Politics. In Constitutional law, we will be looking at the principles, power and politics of Constitutional law with a focus on the relationship between law and politics. In Law and Society, we will begin by looking at historical and international notions of justice and its application and will then focus on law and justice in the United States context. The readings for this course are a mix of novels, memoirs, journalistic accounts, court cases and philosophic works. In Introduction to US Politics, we will study the formal and informal institutions that make up the American political system and then see how these institutions interact by looking at some of the issues that are most important today.

So, is it true that your students will go to prison?

I think everyone should have to go to prison at some point in their college career, so I think this is a good opportunity to do so with the near guarantee of being let out at the end of the day! I'm setting up a tour of the old federal facility and current state facility on McNeil Island which will include a visit to the segregation unit, commonly known as the "hole," meetings with corrections officers and small group meetings with inmates there.

What do you do when you're not working?

My main hobby is hiking and I spend as much time as I can in the mountains.

In sum: students, you'd be crazy not to take a course from Professor Williams while you have the chance. If you have questions or want to know more, you'll find him in Professor Haltom's office, Wyatt 219

Google is not gospel

From PC World:

"University students may be encouraged to be critical but they don't seem to question Google's ranking system, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

The experiment involved 22 undergraduate students (with various majors) from Cornell University in the U.S. It found that overall, the students had an inherent trust in Google's ability to rank results by their true relevance to the query.

"When participants selected a link from Google's result pages, their decisions were strongly biased towards links higher in position, even if that content was less relevant to the search query," states the report. "

Read the news bite here; the whole study can be found here.

Hat tip: Melissa Rohlfs, Office of Communications.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cupcakey Goodness
Now, what more a reason do you need to go downtown? (hat tip: Exit 133).

Burst the bubble

Students, now that you're here, it's time to go. Break through the campus/North End bubble.

Get off of campus.

Get an internship, meet some people, develop some contacts, get some experience.

Go downtown, check out the museums, walk the International District on 38th, have dinner in a Korean restaurant in South Tacoma, shop the Russian store on Center Street, take the ferry to Vashon Island.

Find something new and seemingly undiscovered, then act all in the know around your friends.

This is that time--make the most of it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

They're Here...

The freshmen started showing up last week in earnest; Friday I saw several clutches of incomings and their parents unloading their dorm flotsam. Perhaps my favorite sight was a family who had towed everything in a horse trailer--no horse, though, and I assumed they'd cleaned it thoroughly before the trip.

I caught the tail end of President Thomas' convocation speech over Baker Stadium; wonderful weather and a fine way of kicking off one's life in college.

If there are any freshmen reading this post, I wish you all the best in the years to come. And as always, if you have any questions about the major, drop by my office (Wyatt 222). I'd be happy to chat.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Intern with Congressman Adam Smith

Stephen Souval '09 writes:

I recently finished my summer internship at Congressman Adam Smith's district office, and thought you may want to tell your blog subscribers that the office is seeking interns for both spring and fall (they said they will be especially in need this fall). The link to the internship is: The office is very flexible with interns' schedules and would be a perfect position for busy students (and they especially love UPS students).

We've placed many students there, many of whom have gone on to use their experience to open doors to employment here and around the country. A great opportunity that all of our majors should consider.

Fast Cities 2007

Thanks to Elaine Bolton '64 for this bit of fun from Fast Company:
Fast Cities 2007
Which cities are best for work? Culture? Startups? And which are overheated or dead in the water? And should you disagree, they've got room for you to put in your own two cents (I added a comment on Tacoma).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Intern in DC--Meet Alum--Monday

Julie Housh, ’06 UPS Politics and Government alum, will be on campus Monday, August 27th. She is currently the staff assistant and intern coordinator for Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02) in Washington, D.C. Julie will be around to talk to anyone interested in interning with Congressman Larsen, her internship experience, working on Capitol Hill, or anything in between. If you’d like to chat with her please e-mail her at

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're number 122?

In past we've noted that Washington Monthly does a completely different set of rankings for schools, based on categories they title Social Mobility, Research, and Service. UPS comes in at 121 of 201 colleges. While that may sound bad, according to their criteria schools like Reed come in at 106 and Lewis and Clark at 105. Where do we do well? How many of our students go on to get PhDs (we rank 40), and the number of alums in the Peace Corps (they give the rank as 7--what year this data is from I can't tell, though this year our rank was number one). We do less well in having many students on Pell Grants and also spending work-study money on community service. Read it here.

Probably the odder thing about these ratings is the way in which the schools can so radically shift from year to year--last year Reed was ranked 24. I'm not certain how much value one can get out of an evaluation system where many of the schools fluctuate so much from year to year (13 of the top twenty weren't in the top twenty last year, and many of those weren't anywere near it).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Former President Susan Pierce in Newsweek

Former President Susan Pierce has a piece in Newsweek online that describes her husband Ken's long illness and the challenges of dealing with sickness (Ken Pierce died last December). You can find the piece here (Hat tip: Melissa Rohlfs, Office of Communications).

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Alum Blog: Another One L

Morgan O'Neal '06 has not only begun law school (see earlier post) but has gotten into the swing of things with a blog entitled Another One L. As I know that many of our readers either a) want to be lawyers; b) are in law school; or c) are lawyers, you may find that Morgan's ruminations pique your interest, strike fear, engage your morbid curiosity, generate feelings of solidarity or invoke a nostalgia for times past.

Maybe you'd like to leave a comment--bloggers like them.

Friday, August 17, 2007

We're Number Eighty!

US News has its college rankings for 2008 out, I see, and UPS comes in 80 among national liberal arts colleges, tied with Lewis and Clark in Oregon. See the list here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Internship Opportunity

Something extra to keep you busy...

Roads and Transit Proposition 1

Campaign Internship and Volunteer Opportunities for UPS Students

Positions involve field work, voter contact, volunteer coordinating, and fundraising


A comprehensive transportation system will improve our quality of life
• Addressing major choke-points will reduce congestion.
• Building a fast, safe and reliable light rail system across the region will help lift people out of congestion and make it easier to live and do business here.
More transportation choices means a cleaner environment
• Building an additional 50 miles of light rail to connect Bellevue, Redmond’s Overlake area, Mercer Island, Northgate, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Alderwood, the 164th Street/Ash Way area, Des Moines, Federal Way and Tacoma will take cars off the road and provide better mobility options.
• Creating nearly 12,000 park and ride slots at bus, commuter rail and light rail stations will help commuters get out of their cars.

Upgrading our infrastructure improves safety
• Replacing and retrofitting overpasses and bridges vulnerable to earthquakes.
• Reducing congestion will allow first responders to move more quickly during an emergency.
Investing in transportation drives our economy
• Building transit and fixing choke-points will help improve traffic and move people and goods more quickly and reliably.
• Improving freight mobility will allow our region to compete in an expanding global economy.

For more information about specific projects in Snohomish, King, or Pierce Counties, go to

Shannon Murphy
Pierce County Outreach Coordinator

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Now the truth can be told

Our earlier snapshot of Marx was anonymous; I can now tell all that it was taken by none other than Chris Pohlad '07, who was at Corvinus University in Budapest looking up some old friends of mine in the Political Science Department there. Chris was in Budapest in advance of his new job there, working for PepsiAmericas. Yes, I know Hungary isn't in the Americas, but they also have a presence across Central Europe. Chris will be there for a year or so, and sees it as a good opportunity to get both business and foreign experience. I'm excited for Chris to set up shop in my old stomping ground, and the department wishes him the best of luck.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

All not well with study abroad?

In the New York Times, a piece questioning some of the practices surrounding study abroad and the intermediate institutions that often run these programs. Find the piece here.

I don't know these details too well, but I think the author may be overstating the degree to which a university can "make money" or get "perks" on study abroad, especially if a student has university financial aid which is being directed toward the study abroad program and away from campus. The article also suggests that students could easily directly enroll abroad, but that would not necessarily be covered by federal or campus-based financial aid, nor would one necessarily find a program in a non-English speaking country set up for study abroad (though they do exist). I think the author is straining to draw parallels with the recent student loan scandal, but it's not quite so evident--at least to me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Job Opening, DC

Position Available in Smith's DC Office

Congressman Adam Smith seeks experienced legislative assistant to manage portfolio including labor, transportation, financial services, and judiciary issues. This is not an entry level position. Must have ability to work in fast-paced office, possess excellent writing skills, and have a solid understanding of the legislative process. Pacific Northwest ties and sense of humor are a plus. Salary range 35K+ dependent upon experience. Please email resume and cover letter to No calls or drop-bys.

The Honorable Adam Smith
2402 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-8901

Not Groucho

This image showed up in my in box a few days back from a recent alum who was in Budapest. The statue is at Corvinus University (where I was affiliated on a research Fulbright 15 years ago), which back in the Bad Old Days was Karl Marx University. The statue, a huge affair, remains, for reasons obscure to me. And what was our intrepid alum doing in Budapest? Details to follow.

Textbooks are Spendy

From the New York Times, an editorial suggesting a whole new model for college textbook sales, or rather an old one with a different application. Should textbooks function akin to software, with site licenses? Would this bring the price down? Interesting idea; the article is here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


The Secret Service has its own mock-up of a city for training? I did not know this.

Kudos, Torey

Torey Holderith got a nice comment from his superior at the USMMA for his work during the internship. Makes us look good. It's here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beltway Strategy

A piece in Inside Higher Ed on specialized programs in DC that focus on strategic/defense studies, including, interestingly, Missouri State (yes, in DC). Some observations on the difficulties (practical and ideological) in setting up these kinds of programs and training students well. The article is here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ghost Sign

A few weeks back UW Tacoma took down the "Dawg Shed," a rather sad and nondescript building on Pacific Avenue, to make way for a new assembly hall. The demolition revealed this nice ghost sign, along with a few others, that are now open to the sky until the new building hides them again for another half-century or so.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Big Darlin' Professor Share

Hot off them Internets, Professor Share's bluegrass band wins praise for its recent album, Big Darlin--

The Downtown Mountain Boys are Paul Elliott, Don Share, David Keenan, Terrence Enyeart and Tom Moran, the cream of Seattle-area pickers, top teachers, session musicians, and musicologists . . . so the release of their latest, Big Darlin’ comes with weighty expectations. Happily, they make it sound easy, as great musicians can. Big Darlin’ is a solid slice of real, straight-ahead Bluegrass, with only the faintest hints that the band members do some work outside the genre, too (banjoist Keenan, who made his name in rockabilly and sports Seattle’s most iconic haircut, can’t help singing like Lefty Frizzell.) The disc features a couple numbers by award-winning songwriter and former Seattleite Nancy Riccio, including the scorching opening cut, “Back in the Black,” which is about how payday means not just solvency but a general lifting of spirits. Most of the disc is wisely chosen material from a variety of County and Bluegrass sources, like Jesse Fuller’s “99 Years and One Dark Day” and “Till the End of the World Rolls Around.” The cuts are committed with the drive and verve Bluegrass needs, but just to be different, DTMB does the usually-hyper “Black Eyed Suzie” as a slow country lope. Fiddler Paul Elliott penned the title track, while Keenan contributes a fascinating, hilarious, philosophical piece of cornpone Zen, “Sometimes Dig for Taters.” Big Darlin’ is the big local Bluegrass release of the summer, and should go national. It’s big, darlin’.
–Tom Petersen, Victory Music Review, August 2007.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Torey Holderith '09: USMMA Internship Update

Torey Holderith '09 checks in as his internship winds down--and he's off to do another at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies.
We hope to offer this internship again next summer, so if what you hear below sounds attractive, drop me a note or come by once the school year begins.

My internship at the United States Merchant Marine Academy is coming to close, and I wanted recap some of the highlights of my several months here. On June 18th 2007 the academy held its annual commencement exercises. This was really the big event of my internship, as I had been helping to assemble guest lists and in preparation of the logistical nightmare which is a graduation ceremony, but which is made even worse by the attendance of Senator John S. McCain, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, and Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton. My primary task during this time was managing a guest list of about 700 VIPs who were invited to the ceremony and a luncheon following, but as an intern I was also given the opportunity to help with a large amount of random tasks.

The ceremony was a very successful and while there were a few hitches the critiques were overwhelmingly positive. The ceremony was moving, it is hard to go into detail, but Midshipmen wear the uniforms of the service into which they are entering (they have a choice between all services upon graduation) and during the ceremony those going into each service rose to take their respective oaths of service. Senator John McCain delivered an excellent commencement speech and the graduates threw their hats into the air. The only thing missing from the ceremony was the flyover by Navy Jets, which was unfortunately denied due to Navy disciplinary policy (pilot had apparently done an unauthorized flyover of a Mets game). I fear I have not done the ceremony justice in my description, but Midshipmen work with little break from the time they enter the academy to reach graduation, so to say that they were excited to graduate would be a gross understatement.

Graduation, Midshipmen taking oath of Office at USMMA

Following graduation there was a short break, and then on July 5th 2007 the freshmen (Plebe) class arrived. They were met with haircuts and drill instructors. Part of what makes this phase (indoctrination) remarkable is that the drill instructors are comprised entirely of upper-classmen with only limited Marine Corps supervision. Although my role in the indoctrination phase was small, witnessing it was certainly an experience. Parents drop their kids off, listen to a welcoming speech by the Superintendent of the academy and then are promptly escorted off campus. This two and a half week “orientation” phase is meant to instill discipline and etiquette into the plebe candidates and introduce them to the academy. I found myself invited to do PT with them in the mornings, but sadly only participated several times, primarily because waking up at 0530 was not on my schedule. To say the least it was not quite the same as I remember my first week of school at UPS.

Indoc, Plebes waving final goodbye to parents

My last day here at Kings Point is this Friday, and I will certainly miss this place. UPS has a beautiful campus, but its hard to beat this prime waterfront property here along the Long Island Sound. My final task during my stay here is to develop an intern succession plan, so it is my hope that this may be an annual experience for UPS students so that a closer relationship may be attained between the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the University of Puget Sound. In my short time here I have witnessed the end of one class’s time at Kings Point, and the beginning of another. It has been quite remarkable. That being said, I look forward to returning to UPS and the great Pacific Northwest, following several great months in Kings Point.

Sunset on Kingspoint


Torey Holderith
Class of 2009

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hanseatic Haltom

Bill and Hans at BG

A few days back Bill Haltom travelled to Berlin for the Law and Society Conference, and was joined by Professor Ostrom from the English Department. Professor Haltom's paper, co-authored with Michael McCann (Political Science, University of Washington) was titled "Gunning for Justice and Pressing for Reform: How U. S. Newspapers Report Disputes over Firearms". Professor Ostrom's paper dealt with Langston Hughes' work as it related to issues of race, ethnicity, and rights. Read the abstracts here.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think they had a good time at the conference. And I know that Berlin is not really Hanseatic. A bit of bloggy license for sake of alliteration.