Lauren Rubenstein

Associate Manager of Media & Public Relations at Wesleyan University

A Convention Bounce, or an Ad Bounce?

USA Today, and numerous other news outlets, reported on a new study by the Wesleyan Media Project, which found that Barack Obama and groups supporting him aired 40,000 ads during the two-week period of political conventions, compared with only 18,000 ads aired on behalf of Republican Mitt Romney. This lopsided ad buy could be the reason behind the post-convention bounce in the polls enjoyed by Obama, rather than the president’s performance at the convention.

Stories about the latest Wesleyan Media Project study also appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, Adweek, PoliticoABC News, BloombergThe Daily Beast, News Daily, CT Mirror and on NPR’s All Things Considered and NPR’s Morning Edition.

Two Steps Backwards in the Caucasus

Peter Rutland, professor of government, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, writes in an op-ed published in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune about two recent symbolic events in the Caucasus region that threaten to ignite hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Rosenthal, Tatge on Where We Live

Rob Rosenthal, provost, vice president for academic affairs, and John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, appeared on the WNPR show “Where We Live” to discuss his new book, Pete Seeger: In His Own WordsHe was joined by his son, Sam Rosenthal, with whom he co-edited the book.

Pam Tatge, director of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, also appeared on “Where We Live” to introduce MiddletownRemix, a collaborative soundscape project with the Middletown community going on this entire year.

Sheehan-Connor on Medicare Sustainability

In an op-ed published in The Hartford Courant, Assistant Professor of Economics Damien Sheehan-Connor writes that the debate going on between the political right and left over how to best ensure the sustainability of Medicare misses “the basic driver of growth in health care costs–the development of new therapies.”

Plous’s “Action Teaching” Model Gaining Traction Worldwide

Scott Plous, professor of psychology.

Scott Plous, professor of psychology.

Professor of Psychology Scott Plous is working to spread the word about a model of teaching that enhances learning while directly contributing to a more just, compassionate, and peaceful world.

Back in 2000, Plous coined the term “action teaching” to describe this model. He was inspired by the work of psychologist Kurt Lewin, who in the wake of World War II, developed the concept of “action research,” or research aimed at solving social problems. Lewin’s action research primarily focused on addressing prejudice due to race or religion.

The first action teaching lesson Plous developed, which he published in the journal Teaching of Psychology in 2000, asked students to role play different scenarios in which one person makes a prejudiced comment, and another responds. For example, in one scenario, a student playing a middle-aged uncle at a family dinner makes an antigay remark. A student playing another family member at the table must then respond in a way that psychological research suggests will reduce the uncle’s prejudice. Two additional students act as coaches who observe the interaction and provide candid feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the response. Over the next hour, students then rotate roles and try responding to other prejudiced comments.

MB&B Department Attends Yeast Genetics Meeting at Princeton

Faculty and students from the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department gather at the 2012 Yeast Genetics & Molecular Biology Meeting in August.

Faculty, graduate students and recent alumni from the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department gather at the 2012 Yeast Genetics & Molecular Biology Meeting in August.

The Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department sent three professors and six students to the international 2012 Yeast Genetics & Molecular Biology Meeting held at Princeton University recently, giving Wesleyan the largest per capita representation in the world.

Attending from the department were Associate Professor and Chair Michael McAlear and his graduate student, James Arnone; Assistant Professor Amy MacQueen and her graduate students Pritam Mukherjee and Lina Yisehak, and recent alumni Sarah Beatie ’12 and Louis Taylor ’12; and Associate Professor Scott Holmes and his graduate student, Rebecca Ryznar. All spoke or presented on various aspects of yeast genetics, molecular biology, mitosis and gene expression.

The meeting, sponsored by the Genetics Society of America and held July 31-Aug. 5, is the premier meeting for students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff, and principal investigators studying various aspects of eukaryotic biology in yeast.

Grossman’s Op-Ed on the Libor Banking Scandal in the Courant

Richard Grossman, professor of economics.

Professor of Economics Richard Grossman published an op-ed in The Hartford Courant on August 7 about the global “Libor” banking scandal. Taking a lesson from the old mob-run “numbers racket,” Grossman proposes an elegant solution to fixing deficits in the Libor, and renewing public confidence in the banking system.

The Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) is currently calculated by asking a group of banks to self-report the cost for them to borrow money from other banks. The highest and lowest 25 percent of submitted estimates are thrown out, and the average of the remaining submissions is the Libor. Banks are supposed to submit their best estimate of their borrowing costs, but incentives to cheat are enormous, with millions of dollars in profits at stake, Grossman argues. Therefore, the Libor—the world’s leading benchmark interest rate—should be based on a market-determined figure, such as the recently launched GCF Repo index, published by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.

Schug’s Exhibit Focuses on LGBT Behaviors of the Animal Kingdom

Mariah Schug speaks about the Faroe Island LGBT community during her exhibit's opening.

Mariah Schug speaks about the Faroe Island LGBT community during her exhibit’s opening.

This summer, Mariah Schug, visiting assistant professor of psychology, traveled to the Faroe Islands where she  produced a gallery exhibit on animal sexual diversity. The exhibit, titled, “What is Natural? Diversity of the North,” combined Schug’s scientific research and the work of Nordic artists. It was organized by LGBT Faroe Islands and funded by the Nordic Culture Fund, and ran from July 27 through Aug. 30.

According to Schug, the LGBT movement in the Faroe Islands is relatively new. While supported by much of the public, it faces serious criticisms from religious conservatives. Politicians and public figures who are opposed to equal rights for the Faroese LGBT community frequently argue that homosexuality is unnatural, and therefore, ungodly and immoral. Because, in fact, homosexual, bisexual and transgendered behaviors are very well-documented in the animal kingdom, the exhibit sought to educate the public about this fallacy through the arts and sciences, according to Schug.

"What is Natural? Diversity of the North," combined Schug's scientific research and the work of Nordic artists.

“What is Natural? Diversity of the North,” combined Schug’s scientific research and the work of Nordic artists.

Together with a collaborator, Eiler Fagraklett, Schug compiled a list of Nordic animal species that display homosexual, bisexual, and/or transgendered behaviors. They gave the list to artists in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Denmark, who then created paintings, drawings, sculptures and multi-media pieces representing the animals.

Schug then wrote up the scientific evidence describing the animals’ LGBT behaviors. These write-ups were displayed alongside the artwork in both English and Faroese. Also displayed were quotes from Faroese public figures arguing that homosexuality is unnatural.

Schug also presented her research on Faroese attitudes toward equal rights for the Faroese LGBT community at a lecture series coordinated with the exhibit.

Rosenthal’s Book Featured on the Colbert Report

Legendary folk musician and activist Pete Seeger appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about a new collection of his private writings, selected and edited by Rob Rosenthal, provost, vice president of academic affairs and the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, and his son, Sam Rosenthal. The book is Pete Seeger: In His Own Words. Seeger also performed a song, “Quite Early Morning,” on the show.