Urban + Environmental Policy + Planning
Two New Faculty Join UEP
5/11/2015 12:00:00 AM
This fall UEP will welcome two new faculty: Drs. Shomon Shamsuddin and Sumeeta Srinivasan. 

Shomon will be an assistant professor of social policy and community development. His research explores how institutions define social problems and develop policies to address urban inequality, focusing on socioeconomic effects of low-income housing programs and barriers to educational attainment for underserved communities. He has worked on housing issues at the neighborhood, city, and federal levels, including building affordable housing with community development corporations, managing programs at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and analyzing policy at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Currently, Shomon is a National Poverty Fellow with the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Policy and Planning from M.I.T.

Sumeeta will be a lecturer of spatial analysis. Her research interests are at the intersection of sustainable development and spatial inequities of access. Since 2006 she has been a Preceptor for Geospatial Methods at Harvard University where she has taught courses on spatial models and GIS. She is affiliated with the Center for Geographic Analysis and the China Project at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard where she also was a postdoctoral fellow. The methodological lens that she uses in her research is spatial analysis: the use of GIS, remote sensing, statistical and spatiotemporal models. She has studied cities in India, China and the US. She has a Ph.D. from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at M.I.T. 
Symposium, April 8, 2015: "Towards Racial Equality and Social Justice: Sharing the Work and Research of Dr. James Jennings"
3/3/2015 1:54:00 PM

On April 8, 2015, UEP will host a symposium, Towards Racial Equality and Social Justice: Sharing the Work and Research of Dr. James Jennings. This symposium will be a celebration of Dr. Jennings' work and research, featuring current and former colleagues as well as a panel discussion. Please join us in celebrating Dr. Jennings and continuing the conversation on race and social justice. 

The event will be Wednesday, April 8 from 4:45-7:30pm in Barnum Hall, room 008 (163 Packard Ave, Medford, MA 02155). Light refreshments will be served following the event. If you have any questions, please contact Cara at cara.foster_karim@tufts.edu or Kasia at kasia.hart@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you there!


UEP Professor Penn Loh wins Tufts Innovates grant to develop Teaching Democracy curriculum
3/2/2015 12:00:00 AM

Penn Loh received a $29,000 grant from the Tufts Innovates fund to develop Teaching Democracy, a curriculum for popular and community-based education. Partners include Shirley Mark of Tisch College,  (Shirley Mark), Carolyn Rubin of Community Health, and May Louie, a UEP MPP graduate. Popular and community-based education methods arise from community organizing and empowerment practices, particularly with marginalized groups. They support reflection and action in order to transform the world. They are utilized by many of UEP’s community partners. Yet these methods are rarely taught in universities. Teaching Democracy will be a curriculum for students, faculty, and community partners to build their capacity in popular and community-based education methods. Teaching Democracy will be delivered on a web platform that includes curriculum guides, videos, a blog, and other resources. The curriculum will be piloted with graduate and undergraduate students as well as community practitioners. Once established, Teaching Democracy not only sustains a community of popular and community-based educators but is a resource for others at Tufts who want to learn about and integrate these methods into their teaching and research.

UEP Professor Mary Davis wins Tufts Innovates grant to Explore Artist Expression through Economics and Poetry
3/2/2015 12:00:00 AM
UEP Professor Mary Davis was awarded the Tufts Innovates grant.  The grant will be used to develop and test an interdisciplinary approach to active learning that integrates artistic expression, most notably poetry, into a Tufts economics classroom. Recent advances in neuroscience have highlighted the importance of imagination in learning, improving our understanding of how the brain differentially processes information in response to song (Schon et al. 2010), metaphors (Ferstl et al. 2008), and poetry (Zeman et al. 2013). This small but growing body of research highlights an important role for creative expression that expands beyond its typical academic home in the humanities, with the potential to enhance complex reasoning compared to more standard teaching and assessment tools, such as textbook readings, lectures, and prose essays. Using the cognitive psychology and neuroscience literature as a starting point, the PI has characterized an underlying theory for how creative expression might improve memory and retrieval (Davis 2014, under review). Although her work is focused specifically on the economics classroom, the concept is transferable across the natural and social sciences (Leahy and Sweller 2008). The underlying hypothesis is that creative arts activate important neurological pathways that facilitate transfer of complex information from short- to long-term memory, where it can be retrieved for future problem-solving. It represents a pedagogical innovation that optimizes the learner’s mental effort, thereby improving student outcomes, memory and retrieval of the important concepts.