Newsmakers

A study published in Science Advances that demonstrates the importance of where students obtain their PhD for their employment prospects in academia determined that Brandeis has the eighth most-prestigious Department of History in North America. The Brandeis department ranks just behind departments at Harvard, Yale, UC-Berkeley, Princeton, Stanford, Chicago and Columbia, all much larger institutions. The elite-eight grouping accounts for half of all history professors in the U.S.

Speaking at the concluding event of the weeklong Years of Living Dangerously climate-change program on the Brandeis campus, New York Times foreign-affairs columnist Thomas Friedman ’75, H’88, said the “-ism” that will determine the Middle East’s future is environmentalism, not radicalism or extremism. “Climate change causes social destruction and political instability,” said the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, who reminded listeners that the Middle East is “a volatile part of the world that is getting hotter and drier.”

In May, the Albert Einstein Society will award Stanley Deser, professor emeritus of physics, and University of Maryland physicist Charles Misner the prestigious Einstein Medal for their joint contributions to the study of general relativity. The ceremony will take place in Bern, Switzerland, where Einstein began his career. Other Einstein medalists include Stephen Hawking; the Institute for Advanced Study’s Edward Witten ’71, H’88; and six Nobel laureates.

A documentary based on a book by sociology professor David Cunningham aired earlier this year as part of the PBS series “American Experience.” “Klansville, U.S.A.,” inspired by Cunningham’s 2013 book of the same name, documents how the Ku Klux Klan reemerged in North Carolina following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

In January, the Board of Trustees approved two new degree programs. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will launch the Graduate Program in Teacher Leadership, enabling classroom teachers to take on leadership roles while continuing to serve as teachers. And the Executive MBA for Physicians program, offered through the Heller School, will prepare physicians to bring leadership to the increasingly complex world of health-care policy and practice.

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