20 Highlights from 2020

Although 2020 hit us with multiple disruptions, our students, faculty and staff pushed ahead, and we are proud to share these 20 highlights.

You are Loved  Just before the pandemic struck, the School commissioned a “You are loved” mural that artist Alex Cook completed in the Social Ecology I building with help from more than 80 students, staff and community members as part of the school’s Compassion Action Project.
LIFTED — UCI launched the first in-prison B.A. completion program, LIFTED (Leveraging Inspiring Futures Through Educational Degrees), in the UC system. Keramet Reiter, associate professor of criminology, law and society is the director of LIFTED, which enables incarcerated individuals to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCI.
New Ph.D. — In a push to address growing mental health needs, the School launched a new Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. The program will begin enrolling students in the fall.
Remote Connectedness — As the university commenced remote instruction when COVID-19 hit, the School launched an effort to keep faculty, staff and students informed through its “Remote Connectedness” web pages, offering resources, coping tips and ongoing updates. 
Pandemic Policing — Carolyn Coles-Taylor, a doctoral student in criminology, law and society, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab – North America to fund her research on the ability of Los Angeles police officers to interpret the non-verbal emotion and threat level of civilians during a pandemic. 
Confined During COVID — The virus spread at an alarming rate in prisons throughout the state so an effort to curb the epidemic was launched. Through a website and a fundraising campaign, criminology, law and society faculty members and doctoral students raised awareness and funds to purchase supplies to keep prisoners and prison staff safe during the pandemic.
Pandemic Parenting — The School launched “Parkside Chats,” a webinar series highlighting our experts on the social, environmental and mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with a conversation between Dean Nancy Guerra and Jessica Borelli, associate professor of psychological science. The chat focused on parenting during a pandemic.
COVID-19 and Unemployment — Virginia Parks, chair and professor of urban planning and public policy, discussed the pandemic’s effect on unemployment during “Parkside Chats.”
Coronavirus and Crime — Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society, discussed the decline of crime during the pandemic for her “Parkside Chat.”
Supporting Seniors — Susan Charles, chair and professor of psychological science, offered tips on how to support seniors during the pandemic as part of her “Parkside Chat.”
Compassion Fatigue — For the final “Parkside Chat,” Richard Matthew, associate dean of research and international programs and director of UCI’s Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, discussed how to avoid compassion fatigue during the pandemic.
First Grads —  The first three graduates of the innovative Orange County Young Adult Court program were celebrated and their felonies expunged. The program, co-created by Elizabeth Cauffman, professor of psychological science, takes randomly-selected first-time felony offenders and offers them support services and resources for mental health counseling, job skills training, substance abuse treatment and other help.
Examining Prison Violence — With a $2.7 million gift from Arnold Ventures, Nancy Rodriguez, professor of criminology, law and society, is delving into the sources and consequences of prison violence. Findings from her study will be used to create an evidence-based framework for reducing and preventing incidents of violence.
We're No. 1 — The Master of Advanced Studies in criminology, law and society took the top spot in U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 ranking of best online master’s in criminal justice programs.
Confronting Inequalities — “A Peculiar Indifference: The Neglected Toll of Violence on Black America,” the latest book by Elliott Currie, professor of criminology, law and society, was named one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2020. It addresses police violence.
SoCal Inequality — Inequality and segregation are on the rise in Southern California, according to the Metropolitan Futures Initiative Quarterly Report, authored by John Hipp, professor of criminology, law and society and urban planning and public policy, and his graduate student Benjamin Forthun. The report provides a picture of the demographic and economic change in the region since 1970.
Silver Streak Roxane “Roxy” Cohen Silver, professor of psychological science who received lifetime achievement awards from the Trauma Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association and from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, appeared in webinars and news stories, sharing her expertise on resilience and how media exposure during a shared trauma can amplify negative public health consequences. 
Stagnant Dreamers — María G. Rendón’s book, “Stagnant Dreamers: How the Inner City Shapes the Integration of Second Generation Latinos” won the American Sociological Association’s Latina/Latino Sociology Section Distinguished Contribution to Research Book Award. The assistant professor of urban planning and public policy’s book follows 42 young Latinos from two high-poverty Los Angeles neighborhoods as they transition into adulthood.
Sincerely — A genuine smile or grimace can reduce pain, according to a study by Sarah Pressman, professor of psychological science. She found that sincere smiles as opposed to neutral expressions, are beneficial in reducing discomfort and stress.
New Faculty — Jessica Debats Garrison, Amanda Geller, Miguel Quintana-Navarrete and DeWayne P. Williams joined the faculty. Their expertise ranges from environmental justice to policing, violence and social stressors, respectively.
UCI School of Social Ecology 
5300 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Irvine, CA 92697

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School of Social Ecology · 5300 Social And Behavioral Sciences Gateway · Irvine, CA 92697-0001 · USA