Category Archives: News

Solomon and Wellstead Publishes on Evaluating Renewable Energy Policy

1-s2.0-S2211467X14X00052-cov150hFrom Tech Today:

Professor Barry Solomon and Assistant Professor Adam Wellstead (SS) published a paper with lead author Fei Li ’13 (MS in Environmental and Energy Policy), “Michigan’s RPS Ballot Defeat: A Policy Failure or Success?” in Energy Strategy Reviews, Volume 5 (December 2014), p. 78-87.

ABSTRACT:

Despite heavy reliance on fossil fuels, Michigan’s electorate soundly defeated a Renewable Energy Amendment in 2012 (Proposal 3). The proposal would have mandated that 25% of its electricity come from renewable energy resources by 2025. Prior to the election the State had legislated a 10% goal of adopting more renewable energy into its electricity system through a renewable portfolio standard. Was the defeat a policy failure? This paper employs concepts from the policy failure literature to answer the question. We argue that a traditional policy evaluation such as cost-benefit analysis (CBA) needs to be considered along with broader “political” evaluations. CBA results are complemented with political analysis, which reveal the complexity of evaluating key energy strategies.

Walton Publishes on Dynamic Conceptions of Medieval Architecture

Gothic flying buttresses
“What is Straight Cannot Fall”

Steven Walton (Asst. Prof of History) has had an article published in the journal History of Science, co-authored with his former colleague and professor of architectural engineering at Penn State, Tom Boothby.  The article is entitled, “What is straight cannot fall: Gothic architecture, Scholasticism, and dynamics.

Abstract:

It has long been shown that medieval builders primarily used geometrical constructions to design medieval architecture. The thought processes involved, however, have been considered to be remote from the natural philosophical speculations of the Scholastics, who, following Aristotle, had taken the basis of physics to be the study of dynamics, or change. However, investigations of the Expertises of Chartres, Florence, Milan, and other documents related to medieval building suggest that medieval architects, in speaking of their work, resort to recognizable dynamic arguments, structured similarly to the speculations of Scholastic philosophers. These dynamic explanations of structural behaviour persist at least into the 17th century, but thereafter lost out to the arguments based on statics made by modern scholars attempting to explain the endurance of these structures.

 

Industrial Archaeology Program Recognized for Fieldwork at West Point Foundry

WPF-Group-2004Scenic Hudson, a charitable organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Hudson River area, has received two New York State Historic Preservation awards honoring its success in protecting and connecting people to the remains of the West Point Foundry—one of America’s most important 19th-century ironworks—located in Cold Spring, N.Y.

Students and faculty in the Department of Social Sciences’ Industrial Archaeology Program were recognized in a recent Poughkeepsie Journal  article titled “Scenic Hudson Honored for Work at West Point Foundry Preserve” for fieldwork conducted at the West Point Foundry Preserve over seven years.

Abstract:

The historic interpretation benefited from Scenic Hudson’s sponsorship of seven years of archaeological fieldwork conducted by students and teachers in Michigan Technological University’s Industrial Archaeology Program led by Dr. Patrick Martin.

Durfee Quoted in JSTOR Daily

800px-Air_pollution_smoke_rising_from_plant_towerProfessor Mary Durfee was quoted in the recent article “EPA Announces 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Award Winners” published in JSTOR Daily. The quote comes from Durfee’s 1999 work titled “Diffusion of Pollution Prevention Policy.”

 

Abstract:

Mary Durfee explains that “pollution control has always been the main approach in environmental regulation,” while the use of prevention techniques varied widely depending on the industry. When prevention was emphasized, according to Durfee, businesses chafed at the regulatory focus on reducing inputs— i.e., using fewer chemicals—to the detriment of other reduction strategies such as recycling chemicals from one process to another.

Durfee Lectures in Hungary and Iceland

MaryDurfeeProfessor Mary Durfee recently gave lectures in Hungary and Iceland.

In Budapest, Hungary at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Durfee presented her lecture titled “Will Russian Cooperation Continue in the Arctic.” Despite the frequent news items on coming conflict in the Arctic, there has been a very high degree of cooperation and law-based behavior in the region. The recent events in the Crimea and Ukraine suggest a different foreign policy coming from Moscow.  Is it likely Russian behavior will change in the far north?  Using primarily geo-political argument, Durfee argues cooperation will continue in the North, though whether the other Arctic countries will separate Russian Arctic behavior from its behavior elsewhere is in doubt.

At the Corvinus Society for Foreign Affairs and Culture in Budapest, Hungary, Durfee presented “The Problem of U.S. Power and a Solution in the Rise of China.” At the end of the Cold War, the U.S. stood as the sole superpower.  But it did not reinforce the institutions it had built with allies after WWII, rather it used its power to undermine many of the institutions and to attempt to change the internal orders of states in the ways the U.S. thought would be best. At the same time, the absence of another power with an alternative view on order meant the U.S. had no reason to evaluate the strength of it’s own political system as a model to others. Ian Clark has said that hegemony is “power with a purpose.” The peaceful rise of China and that state’s new efforts to offer a different hegemonic order may help the U.S. refine its hegemonic purpose.

In the Arctic Circle, Reykjavik, Iceland, Durfee presented “Every Treaty is a Policy:  The Evolution of Norms in the Arctic.” Through an evaluation of Arctic treaties since 1920, Durfee argues there are three key norms:  1) Bend sovereignty where mutual gains are possible 2) Include Indigenous Peoples in decision making 3) Peaceful settlement of disputes (despite large military assets in many Arctic states).

Durfee is on sabbatical as a Fulbright to Hungary in Budapest.

 

 

MacLennan on Hawai’i’s Sugar Industry

Beginning of the harvest. Kïlauea Sugar Plantation, Kaua‘i, 1912. H. W. Thomas photograph album. Hawaiian Historical Society
Beginning of the harvest. Kïlauea Sugar Plantation,Kaua‘i,
1912. H. W. Thomas photograph album. Hawaiian Historical
Society

Dr. Carol MacLennan presented to the Hawaiian Historical Society on topics in her new book, Sovereign Sugar: Industry and Environment in Hawai’i (Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 2014),  in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 23, 2014.

ABSTRACT:  MacLennan focuses on the rise of power among the sugar planters and the ecology of plantation agriculture. It is a story of land and water, community, and politics. By the 1930s, the sugar economy engulfed both human and environmental landscapes. Sugar manufacture not only transformed Hawai‘i but its legacy provides lessons for the future.

Wellstead Publishes on the Challenges of Climate Change Policy

lpad20.v037.i14.coverA paper coauthored by Assistant Professor Adam Wellstead (SS), “Addressing the Challenges of Adaptation to Climate Change Policy: Integrating Public Administration and Public Policy Studies,” was published in the International Journal of Public Administration, Volume 37, Issue 14. (from Tech Today)

Abstract:

With growing attention on formulating the “right” policies and programs to address climate change, the contribution that policy work will make in fostering adaptive capacity needs to be examined. Policy capacity is crucial to policy formulation and should be at the heart of climate mainstreaming. There are six hypotheses about the nature of climate-based policy work based on a survey conducted of Canadian federal and provincial government employees in the forestry, finance, infrastructure, and transportation sectors. To measure the simultaneous effects on perceived policy capacity, an Ordinary Least Squares regression was conducted. Among the key findings was that the increased demand for climate change science within an organization resulted in a decreased perception of policy capacity. Policy work was largely focused on procedure activities rather than on evaluation. The model found that networking was critically important for perceived policy capacity. Effective policy formulation will involve the participation of others normally not associated with traditional policy work. Evidence-based policy work illustrates that policy success can be achieved by improving the amount and type of information processed in public policy formulation.

Faculty Position: Documentation of Sites and Structures

Assistant or Associate Professor, Tenure-Track

Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University

HAER drawing

The Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University seeks a tenure-track faculty member specializing in Architectural History, Historic Preservation, or Public History to join an interdisciplinary social sciences faculty.

The Department of Social Sciences (http://www.mtu.edu/social-sciences/) offers undergraduate majors in history, anthropology, and social science. The department is also home to two graduate programs (Industrial Heritage & Archaeology and Environmental & Energy Policy), both of which offer MS and PhD degrees. The successful applicant will contribute to the graduate Industrial Archaeology program by teaching the documentation of structures and sites and should be familiar with HABS/HAER standards. Applicants must be able to teach in the undergraduate American history survey and demonstrate an ability to sustain graduate research activities through external funding. Candidates may come from fields such as architectural history, historic preservation, industrial history, history of technology, or American Studies as it relates to the built environment, and should have interests relating to any of the following areas: recording and preserving structures; industrial heritage; cultural resource management; the historic interface between industry and environment; or historic site development, interpretation, and management. This is a tenure-track position at the Assistant/Associate Professor level, beginning August 2015. Ph.D. in History, American Studies or relevant historical field expected at time of appointment.

Michigan Tech is a research university with 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees. The University emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and international research partnerships, and prepares students to create a more sustainable world. Our goal is to attract world-class faculty to enrich the educational experience of our bright, motivated, and adventurous students. MTU is dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse faculty committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment and strongly encourages applications from women and minorities. Michigan Tech is located on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and its community offers year-round recreational and cultural opportunities. Please consult the department webpage for more information: http://www.mtu.edu/social-sciences

Review of the applications will begin on January 15, 2015 and continue until the position is filled. Candidates should complete the online application at https://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/2371 and upload the following application materials:

  1. a cover letter
  2. a two-page statement describing teaching experience and research plans, and how you meet the requirements for this position and how you could contribute to an interdisciplinary social sciences department
  3. a curriculum vitae
  4. a recent publication
  5. contact information for three references (no letters of reference, please).

Complete job description is available at http://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/2371.

Inquiries may be sent to: Steven A. Walton, sawalton@mtu.edu or 906.487.3272.


Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. Applications from women and minorities are highly encouraged by both the department and the institution. Michigan Tech acknowledges the importance of supporting dual career partners in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Michigan Tech is committed to offering career exploration advice and assistance whenever feasible and appropriate at the University and in the local community. See www.dual.mtu.edu for additional information. Michigan Tech is an ADVANCE institution, one of a limited number of universities in receipt of NSF funds in support of our commitment to increase diversity and the participation and advancement of women in STEM.

 

Faculty Position: Social Sciences

Assistant Professor, Tenure-Track

Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University

The Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University invites applications for an Assistant Professor to join an interdisciplinary social sciences faculty. We seek a scholar specializing in environmental justice, industrial communities/deindustrialization, health, food systems, or gender. Candidates should be prepared to teach one or more courses that articulate with the undergraduate majors in Anthropology or Social Science. Applicants should also demonstrate how their research and teaching interests strengthen one of our graduate programs (MS and PhD) in either Industrial Heritage and Archaeology or Environmental and Energy Policy. A Ph.D. in Anthropology, Geography, Sociology, or a related interdisciplinary field is required by August 15, 2015.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong research record and agenda, as well as high potential for securing external funding. Teaching experience is strongly preferred. The teaching load is two courses per semester.

Michigan Tech is a research university (RU/H) with approximately 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located minutes from Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Houghton/Hancock community offers year-round recreational and cultural opportunities. This environment, combined with a competitive compensation package, results in an excellent quality of life. Michigan Tech is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. Michigan Tech acknowledges the importance of supporting dual career partners in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. See www.dual.mtu.edu for additional information.

Applications will be reviewed starting Jan 15, 2015. Full consideration will be given to applications received by that date. Interested candidates should complete the online application at http://www.jobs.mtu.edu/postings/2349 and upload required materials including: (1) a letter of interest, (2) Curriculum Vitae, (3) research statement, and (4) names and contact information for three to five references. Letters of reference will be requested for candidates making the short list.

Please direct inquiries to Richelle Winkler at rwinkler@mtu.edu or (906) 487-1886.

Anthropology Major Wins EPA Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship

Melissa Michaelson
Melissa Michaelson

Michigan Tech student Melissa Michaelson has been awarded two years of funding to complete her B.S. in anthropology through the EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship for Undergraduate Environmental Study. She has the honor of being one of only 34 awards given nationwide in this competition. In addition to funding her education for the final two years of her degree, Melissa will be placed in a paid summer internship at an EPA facility. She is focusing her degree in the area of environmental anthropology with the aim of doing senior thesis research on social and cultural barriers to a plastic free campus and community. Building on her experience designing a display of 600 plastic bottles collected from local trash bins to engage local community members in discussions about consumption patterns, Melissa continues to do community-engaged research in Dr. Richelle Winkler’s Communities and Research class. This year the class, funded by a separate EPA People, Prosperity and Planet grant, is creating a guidebook that former mining communities can use to evaluate the social and technical feasibility of using minewater for geothermal energy. Her sponsor for the EPA GRO Fellowship is Dr. Kari Henquinet.

Plastic Bottle Chains
Plastic Bottle Chains
Melissa Michaelson with plastic bottles.
Melissa Michaelson with plastic bottles.