Around Campus

Brandeis to offer Master of Science in Robotic Software EngineeringPosted: Feb. 13, 2018

Brandeis' Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) is launching a fully online, part-time master’s degree in Robotic Software Engineering. Designed in conjunction with experts in the field, the program addresses the growing demand for software engineers who have experience with the technologies used to power autonomous robots.

According to a report by the Pew Research Center, robotics is expected to touch nearly every facet of daily life - including employment - by 2025. "Essentially every global industry will feel the impact of autonomous robots and the software that drives them," said Krishna Gopalakrishnan, Brandeis GPS program development chair and senior software engineer at Amazon Robotics. "Software engineers who want to remain competitive in their fields will need to keep up with the specific set of skills and technologies that relate to robotics."

The robotics curriculum captures the industry's latest tools and best practices while incorporating the rigorous standards of excellence that make Brandeis one of the country's top universities. A professional advisory board made up of practicing robotic software engineers monitors the program's courses and subject matter, ensuring that the curriculum stays current and relevant. The courses are developed and taught by active robotics practitioners who engage directly with students in online classes that cap at 16 to 20 students.   A sample of the program's courses includes:

●    Modern C++ and Robotics Frameworks
●    Design and Architectural Patterns for Robotics
●    Robot Sensing and Perception

The program provides the flexibility of being fully online while also giving students hands-on experience through the incorporation of robot kits into the curriculum. With the program's capstone, students showcase an end-to-end operational scenario. All courses are ten weeks long, and students can complete the 30-credit degree in as quickly as 18 months.

Students interested in applying to the MS in Robotic Software Engineering should submit their application by June 20 for fall admission. Students may also take individual courses, prior to applying for admission or for professional development purposes. Registration for the second spring session is now open, with courses beginning April 11. Visit www.brandeis.edu/gps for more information.

About Brandeis GPS
Brandeis University's Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) offers fully online, part-time master's degrees and professional development courses in today's most in-demand fields. With four 10-week sessions each year, students can complete their degree in as little as 18 months. Courses are led by industry experts who deliver professional insights and individualized support. Brandeis GPS is dedicated to extending the rigorous academic standards that make Brandeis University one of the top institutions in the country to a diverse population seeking to advance their careers through continuing studies. Brandeis is a medium-sized private research university with a global reach, dedicated to first-rate undergraduate education and the making of groundbreaking discoveries. The university's 5,700 undergraduate and graduate students are motivated, compassionate, curious, and open to exploring new and challenging experiences.

Brandeis University inducted into international business honor society Beta Gamma SigmaPosted: Feb. 8, 2018
Brandeis University was recently inducted into the prestigious international business honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS). At a luncheon ceremony attended by representatives from the society, faculty and staff, the university became the 585th chapter of the global organization, which has chapters in all 50 U.S. states and in 33 countries.

The ceremony included the installation of two Brandeis chapter advisors: Jon Chilingerian, a professor at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, and Kathryn Graddy, senior associate dean of the International Business School (IBS). Professors Chilingerian and Graddy will administer the honor society program for their respective schools at Brandeis.

Chilingerian said, "Brandeis has developed innovative and unique management programs at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and the International Business School. The MD-MBA and Executive MBA for Physicians programs, and the dual degree and general MBA programs train students to lead and manage organizations that confront difficult and important problems and opportunities. We hope that offering Brandeis students a lifelong membership in this international management honor society will empower them to achieve excellence throughout their professional lives."

"We are delighted to become a part of this society, which encourages and acknowledges outstanding academic achievement in the field of business. As someone who was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society many years ago, I appreciate the recognition given to top students for academic excellence in business studies," said Graddy.    

Beta Gamma Sigma has chapters in only the top five percent of business programs. Its members include past chief executives of major corporations, a Nobel Prize winner, a former secretary of the U.S. Navy and a past Olympian. The society's 820,000 lifetime members live in more than 190 countries and territories.

"Brandeis stands for academic rigor and excellence. The best students in our MBA and other graduate masters programs, along with undergraduates studying business, will benefit from this honor and recognition of their achievements in the classroom," said Ben Gomes-Casseres, a professor of international business and program director for the MBA.   

The Heller School and Brandeis IBS will announce plans for introducing the society to their respective student bodies in the spring.
Department of Justice awards $731,000 to Brandeis University and Colorado State University researchers to create a tool to predict terrorist radicalizationPosted: Feb. 6, 2018

After a terrorist attack, the question always arises: Could this have been prevented?

The answer may lie at the intersection of data science and social science.

The National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, has awarded Brandeis politics professor Jytte Klausen and Colorado State University professor of electrical and computer engineering Anura Jayasumana a joint grant of $731,000 to develop a data-driven, risk assessment protocol that can help law enforcement identify individuals that are on the path to radicalization, focusing on overt behaviors indicative of extremism rather than country of origin or religion.

“The collaboration marries cutting edge computational techniques and old-fashioned social science methodologies to analyze how people are drawn into militant terrorist networks,” Klausen said. “We aim to use pattern-detection computational methods to analyze a large real-world data collection tracking the behavioral characteristics of known terrorist offenders that we have compiled from court documents and the offenders’ own social media.”

The research will help a number of key groups – from law enforcement to social workers and probation officers working with violent extremists – to better assess risk. The collaboration also marks a break-through in the use of second-generation (2G) computational techniques in social science.  

"There is no protocol to identify, in real time, people getting radicalized," said Jayasumana. "On top of that, law enforcement does not have the resources to look at millions of people…Our purpose is to use the characteristics identified as radicalization indicators and narrow down at-risk groups for law enforcement to examine."

Jayasumana, a leader in network science with an expertise in data sciences related to pattern and anomaly detection, network mapping for IoT (Internet of Things), and communication among weather radars, will create an algorithm to power the tool built on research from Klausen’s Western Jihadism Project.

Launched in 2009, the Western Jihadism Project is a multimedia data archive that records the growth of Jihadism in Western Europe, North America and Australia since the early 1990s.

The database comprises records of thousands of terrorism offenders from 20 countries, plus information about the personal social networks in Jihadist terrorist organizations and their recruitment efforts in Western nations. Brandeis’ research team at the Western Jihadism Project – which includes Klausen and a staff of undergraduate and graduate students – will continue collecting data about subjects who commit acts of terror and share it with Jayasumana’s team of computer scientists at Colorado State.

“This project relies on research collected only from publicly available data and refocuses counter-terrorism efforts by examining risk behaviors rather than making assumptions based on demographics,” Klausen said. “By creating an evidence-based approach that helps us understand how people become dangerously radicalized, we can take steps to ensure public safety without profiling innocent people or threatening their privacy and civil liberties.” 

Ombuds offer Brandeis community confidential, impartial support and informal dispute resolutionPosted: Feb. 5, 2018

Brandeis has made the services of a three-person University Ombuds team available to community members.

The ombuds team will be responsible for engaging in impartial dispute resolution, and for providing confidential and informal assistance to university students, staff, faculty, administrators, or anyone associated with an issue involving Brandeis.

Though affiliated with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the ombuds team will conduct its work with total impartiality and intentionally operate outside traditional compliance with university protocols and Human Resources.

“Our ombuds team will provide confidential, impartial support in the event someone in our community is experiencing harassment, discrimination or other serious issues,” said Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas. “Ombuds officers advocate for participant-owned processes that privately provide resolution to a number of potential complaints, including but not limited to, those based on race, gender identity, religion and sexuality.”

The ombuds team will be led by Don Greenstein, a part-time staff member with 29 years of experience in conflict resolution and ombuds roles. He will be assisted by Heller School for Social Policy and Management senior fellow Cathy Burak and Student Support Services director Elena Lewis, who will be engaged exclusively with student-related issues.

University Ombuds are available for:

  • Informal Dispute Resolution. They will engage in helping community members in resolving conflicts between parties through impartial and confidential processes such as mediation, conflict-resolution coaching, or informal problem-solving.
  • Consultation and Referral. They will assist visitors to their office with interpreting university policies and procedures and providing assistance in navigating equity systems, as well as supporting discussion of all options for a self-empowered resolution.
  • Acting as a campus resource. They provide analysis and suggestions for senior administration in formulating and/or modifying policy and procedures that may surface as a result of discrepancies between the stated goals of the institution and actual practice.
  • Training. Ombuds are available to design and conduct training programs for the campus community in conflict management, dispute resolution, negotiation skills and theory, civility and related topics. 


Ombuds officers will not involve any other campus office or administrator without permission.

Additionally, though University Ombuds will periodically meet with the Brandeis administration to discuss trends or offer suggestions, all information discussed in meetings with community members is strictly confidential. Ombuds officers will not record sessions or keep formal notes from any meetings.

“We believe what goes on in here stays in here,” said Greenstein. “Our goal is to allow people to have as deep a conversation as they want without concern of attribution to someone in the university or elsewhere about what they share. Summary annual reports will only be about trends we see so the university can consider and make appropriate changes.”

“My hope is that all at Brandeis will feel comfortable enough to discuss issues and conflicts that may come up in their daily life,” Greenstein added. “We want to help resolve them at the earliest opportunity and in a self-empowered manner. Our goal is to help people working through differences reach closure in ways that work for everyone involved. The Ombuds Office supports an ethical and civil culture encouraging mutual understanding and resolution through respectful dialogue and fair processes.”

Brandeis University Press book named finalist for 2017 National Jewish Book AwardPosted: Jan. 16, 2018

“Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court from Brandeis to Kagan: Their lives and legacies,” written by David Dalin PhD’77 and published by Brandeis University Press, has been named a finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award in the biography, autobiography and memoir category.

Dalin’s book offers a comprehensive look at the personal lives, legal careers and legacies of the eight Jews who have served on the U.S. Supreme Court – Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan.

Louis Brandeis, the university’s namesake, became the first Jew on the Supreme Court in 1916 after being appointed by President Woodrow Wilson.

Dalin discusses the relationship each Jewish justice had with the president who appointed them and also investigates how anti-Semitism may have affected their respective confirmation processes.

The book also dives into the changing role of Jews within American jurisprudence and the Jewish justices’ opinions on issues including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the death penalty, privacy and gender equality.

Steve Whitfield, the Max Richter Professor of American Civilization, also reviewed the book.

Carina Ray awarded the Aidoo-Snyder Book PrizePosted: Dec. 5, 2017
Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies Carina Ray was presented with the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize in a ceremony Nov. 18 in Chicago.

The prize is awarded by the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association for an outstanding book published by a woman that prioritizes African women’s experiences. Named in honor of Ama Ata Aidoo, the celebrated Ghanaian novelist and short-story writer, and Margaret Snyder, the founding Director of UNIFEM, the prize seeks to acknowledge the excellence of contemporary scholarship being produced by women about African women.

Ray received the prize for her book, "Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana." The book is also the recipient of the American Historical Association’s 2016 Wesley-Logan Book Prize for African Diaspora History, and a finalist for the United Kingdom African Studies Association’s Fage and Oliver Prize.

More information on the award can be found on the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association's website.
Recent notable media coveragePosted: Dec. 4, 2017