November 2016
Imad Jbara: An Author and College Student
Imad Jbara, a senior psychology major, felt he had something to say. Instead of posting to Facebook or Twitter, Imad did what not many college students do. He co-authored a book with Resident Director and doctoral candidate LaToya Rene Robertson.
The College Cheat Sheet is a detailed account of how to survive college. The authors share insider tricks and tips, like making to-do lists and maintaining good relationships with professors. Imad even shares the proper etiquette behind emailing professors. "The book helps students through college, and it helps them become the best version of themselves," Imad said.
Before going to college, Imad had to overcome many unfortunate circumstances. At 15, he needed his own how-to guide for life. When he was just a sophomore in high school, his mom, who lived in Morocco, fell sick. Imad's dad traveled to Morocco and stayed for 5 years. Back home, Imad had to learn how to take care of himself. When he began his studies at UMass Dartmouth, he was homeless. "I didn't have anyone to tell me it was going to be okay," he said. "I want to inspire people and let them know that no matter what, they can achieve their dreams."
As a psychology major, Imad feels he is ready to pursue his career as a life coach. "Psychology teaches you how to communicate with people," he said. "It shows you different perspectives and helps you understand people better." Imad also has had many mentors help prepare him for his journey into entrepreneurship. They helped shape him and gave him the confidence he needed to aim high. "I believe that everything happens for a reason," Imad said. "This school made me who I am."
Professor Mark Paige embraces his passion for education and policy
As a former public school teacher, Professor Mark Paige uses his unique perspective to engage in education and policy research. His teaching background, along with his educational law background, allows him to investigate and scrutinize areas that he understands well. Paige has been a source for expert commentary on educational law and education policy issues. Media outlets like the Los Angeles Times and the Bloomberg Law have turned to him in response to the ongoing issue of teacher evaluations.
His most recent book,  Building a Better Teacher: Understanding Value-Added Models in the Law of Teacher Evaluation takes an in-depth look at the growing practice of using student test scores to measure teacher effectiveness. "My hope is that we dial back the infatuation with the use of these evaluation models before we head off a cliff," Paige said. "If we rely too heavily on a flawed model we are going to be losing good teachers, and encouraging good teachers to choose only the highest test-performing schools to teach at."
Because of his research and expertise, Paige has observed the damage that these evaluation models have on the education system. "We're seeing teachers leave the profession," Paige said. "The morale is low, and it affects the students." He argues that teacher evaluations are needed, but there are other ways to measure teacher effectiveness like collective bargaining or peer-review assisted models.
As a professor in the Department of Public Policy, Paige brings his research into the classroom, and he's able to broaden the lens on policy.  He gives his students a legal lens, so they can make the connection between law and policy. "I want my students to ask questions," Paige said. "I want them to analyze policies that look nice and consider the consequences of that policy." 
Put your social media savviness to work
Every day it seems like new social media platforms are popping up. It's hard to keep track and stay on top, but the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is trying. For the past year or so, we've maintained two social media platforms- Facebook and LinkedIn. We use these platforms as a way to share students' stories, faculty profiles, and even departmental events. But we'd like to have a more robust online presence with back and forth conversations, use of hashtags, photo sharing, and tagging.
In order to make this wish a reality, we decided to up our social media game. Millennials aren't just on Facebook and LinkedIn anymore. They've wandered to other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, so CAS has begun to share stories and news on the college's new Twitter and Instagram accounts. We've also created hashtags-#umassdcas and #CASstories- to help create and follow CAS conversations.
In the past, we've used social media as our broadcasting tool. We've shared stories about our students and ourselves. We've advertised university and departmental events. But we're looking to do more. It's not just about us telling our story; we want our users to tell their story too. We want to create a community of users who are engaged with us. In the future, there might be photo contests on Instagram for the best campus shot, trivia contests via twitter, alumni awards, and the most shared CAS story via Facebook. We've got the plans, but now we need the community. Join us.

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