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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Politics & Society

$1.12M grant to help increase math teacher diversity

Silhouette of a person writing on a white board. William Hall, assistant professor of mathematics, knows the tremendous impact high school math teachers can have on how students learn to think and reason quantitatively, and that includes matters of civics, social justice, and fairness.

“It is not always clear that you can be passionate about those ideas and use a career in teaching high school mathematics to explore them further and serve your community at the same time,” he said. » More …

Seeds of economic health disparities

ndigenous adult man on typical wooden canoe chopped from a single tree navigating murky waters of Ecuadorian Amazonian primary jungle.No billionaires live among the Tsimane people of Bolivia, although some are a bit better off than others. These subsistence communities on the edge of the Amazon also have fewer chronic health problems linked to the kind of dramatic economic disparity found in industrialized Western societies.

“The connection between inequality and health is not as straightforward as what you would see in an industrialized population,” said Aaron Blackwell,  associate professor of anthropology and lead researcher on a study » More …

$1.2M NSF grant to support new generation of female leaders

Maria Gartstein.Maria Gartstein found herself in an unfamiliar position when she reached the level of associate professor in 2008.

“I was unsure of what to do next,” Gartstein said. “I always had a pretty good sense of what it would take to get tenure but once I got it I realized I hadn’t really thought beyond that.”

Gartstein’s dilemma was and still is a common occurrence in academia.  Research shows » More …

Study finds minimal effect on major crime from legal marijuana sales

Plastic bag containing marijuana.Legalizing recreational marijuana has had minimal effect on violent or property crime rates in Washington and Colorado, a WSU study funded by the National Institute of Justice has found.

“As the nationwide debate about legalization, the federal classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, and the consequences of legalization for crime continues, it is essential to center that discussion on studies that use contextualized and robust research designs » More …

Selfie versus posie

Closeup of Chris Barry holding two phones.If you lose sleep over how people perceive you on Instagram, you might want to think twice before posting that selfie. That’s the main takeaway from a new study in the Journal of Research in Personality by WSU psychologists.

The scientists conducted a novel experiment with hundreds of actual Instagram users to determine if there are certain types of self‑image posts that cause others to make snap judgements about the user’s personality. » More …

Helping non-violent offenders take the first step

View of a prison block from behind bars.Two criminal justice faculty members are playing key roles in a national effort to free thousands of non-violent prisoners and help them transition smoothly to civilian life.

The First Step Act signed into law late last year is designed to create a path to release for prisoners convicted of non-violent drug offenses. The prisoners earn credit for good behavior and are issued a risk profile based on a number of factors. That’s where WSU’s Zach Hamilton and Alex Kigerl come in. » More …

Who dominates the discourse of the past?

Shannon Tushingham and Tiffany Fulkerson.WSU researchers Tiffany Fulkerson and Shannon Tushingham set out to determine how a rapidly evolving demographic and professional landscape is influencing the production and dissemination of knowledge in American archaeology.

Their study, published in American Antiquity in July, found that women, who now make up half of all archaeologists in North America, and professionals working outside of a university setting » More …

Public support for environmental spending hinges on White House

Infographic showing public support for environmental spending Leveraging the power of data analytics, WSU sociologist Erik Johnson teased apart the opinions of more than 20,000 people over more than four decades and found support for environmental spending consistently plummeted during the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Democrats all.

Johnson made his discovery using a statistical analysis that looked at poll respondents in terms of their age, the time period in which they were surveyed and » More …

Renewable energy offers common ground for Democrats, Republicans

Solor panel farm in the desertAs the battle lines are drawn for next month’s hotly contested midterm elections, some Americans may be comforted to know there is at least one area of common ground for Democrats and Republicans: regardless of political standing, age or gender, U.S. voters are in favor of renewable energy, according to research by Christine Horne, professor of sociology.

Horne and Emily Kennedy, a former WSU sociology professor now at the University of British Columbia, are the authors of a new study in the journal Environmental Politics that shows while conservatives and liberals tend to disagree » More …