UW News

Social science


June 20, 2018

Why 9 to 5 isn’t the only shift that can work for busy families

A University of Washington study finds that consistency in parents' work schedules, even "nonstandard" shifts such as nights, can positively impact children. Such alternative shifts are common in health care, law enforcement and the service sector.

    For the millions of Americans who work “nonstandard” shifts – evenings, nights or with rotating days off – the schedule can be especially challenging with children at home. But a new study from the University of Washington finds that consistent hours, at whatever time of day, can give families flexibility and in some…


June 18, 2018

Evans School faculty to study Fauntleroy ferry concerns for Washington State Ferries

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The Washington State Legislature has commissioned faculty members with the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance to study ticketing and loading procedures at the West Seattle ferry dock and suggest ways to improve terminal operations. Evans School professor Alison Cullen and associate professor Stephen Page will lead the study, which begins…


June 14, 2018

‘Teachers are brain engineers’: UW study shows how intensive instruction changes brain circuitry in struggling readers

This illustration of the brain shows the arcuate fasciculus (green); inferior longitudinal fasciculus (blue) and posterior callosal connections (pink).

    The early years are when the brain develops the most, forming neural connections that pave the way for how a child — and the eventual adult — will express feelings, embark on a task, and learn new skills and concepts. Scientists have even theorized that the anatomical structure of neural connections forms the…


June 12, 2018

Anthropology professor focuses book on the bonds between humans, animals

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Radhika Govindrajan’s book “Animal Intimacies” started attracting attention before it was even available to readers. A University of Washington assistant professor of anthropology since 2015, Govindrajan specializes in animal studies, and in the politics and culture of the Central Himalayas, where much of the research for this book was conducted. “Animal Intimacies,” published in May…


June 6, 2018

Washington state Supreme Court takes up court-fee reform, considers UW data at sold-out Wednesday symposium

Monetary sanctions disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. A Washington State Supreme Court symposium will discuss the issue of legal financial obligations, with new data from the University of Washington.

  African-Americans in Washington state are 2.3 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to fines and fees, and carry about three times the debt in unpaid monetary sanctions. In all, said University of Washington sociology professor Alexes Harris, legal financial obligations represented nearly $2.5 billion in debt in Washington in 2014, the most…


June 4, 2018

Polar scientist Kristin Laidre documents perspectives of polar bear hunters in East Greenland

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Twenty-five polar bear hunters in East Greenland were interviewed before the first formal assessment of this subpopulation, one of 19 subpopulations of polar bears in a changing Arctic.


May 25, 2018

Anthropologist explores China’s changing art scene in ‘Experimental Beijing’

Sasha Welland's book, "Experimental Beijing," was published by Duke University Press.

On a two-year stint teaching English in Beijing, Sasha Welland got her first glimpse of contemporary Chinese art. Not the antiquities so common in Western museums of Asian art, or the scroll paintings or ceramics or Buddhist sculptures, explains Welland, an associate professor in the University of Washington departments of anthropology and gender, women and…


May 17, 2018

Want to help your child succeed in school? Add language to the math, reading mix

A University of Washington-led study finds that a child's language skills in kindergarten predict his or her performance in other areas, including math and reading, throughout school.

    Research shows that the more skills children bring with them to kindergarten – in basic math, reading, even friendship and cooperation – the more likely they will succeed in those same areas in school. Hence, “kindergarten readiness” is the goal of many preschool programs, and a motivator for many parents. Now it’s time…


May 15, 2018

STEM for All Video Showcase features six UW projects

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  Family-focused science lessons, robotics for young children and touch-based programming for the visually impaired are among the University of Washington research videos featured in the STEM for All Video Showcase, funded by the National Science Foundation. The weeklong online event, in its fourth year, highlights more than 200 projects from universities around the country…


May 2, 2018

Center for Communication, Difference and Equity to explore issues of race and media in conference May 10-12

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Issues of race and racism permeate American culture and media more than ever. The UW’s Center for Communication, Difference and Equity will hold a three-day conference May 10-12 to explore these issues and foster engagement and support among academics.


April 26, 2018

Community efforts to prevent teen problems have lasting benefits

A University of Washington study finds that a community-based approach to substance-abuse prevention, which can include after-school activities, can affect young people into adulthood.

  Want to prevent kids from using drugs and make it stick into young adulthood? Get the community involved and intervene before they’re teens, say researchers from the University of Washington. A new, longitudinal study from the UW Social Development Research Group shows that young adults who grew up in communities that used a coordinated,…


March 28, 2018

UW historian Michael Honey recalls Martin Luther King’s message of economic justice in new book, ‘To the Promised Land’

Michael Honey, author of "To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice."

As the 50th anniversary approaches of the murder of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, UW historian Michael Honey reminds us in a new book that economic justice and labor rights were always part of King’s progressive message.


March 21, 2018

Partnering with indigenous communities to anticipate and adapt to ocean change

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With a new $700,000 grant awarded from the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, scientists from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Washington Sea Grant and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean have teamed with federal and tribal partners to study the social and ecological vulnerabilities of Olympic Coast ocean acidification.


March 15, 2018

New minor recognizes, celebrates Pacific Islander community

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The University of Washington’s new minor in Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies debuts spring quarter. The 25-credit, interdisciplinary program is the result of a longtime effort to elevate the history and culture of an underrepresented, and often misrepresented, community.


March 14, 2018

Could anti-Trump sentiment mobilize African-American voters in 2018?

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African-American voters who dislike and feel threatened by Donald Trump and his presidency are more likely to vote and to engage with politics, according to new research from the UW and California State University, Sacramento.


March 12, 2018

UW study offers help to soldiers with signs of PTSD

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The University of Washington is launching a study to identify soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms and to determine whether free, confidential, over-the-phone counseling can help them navigate resources and spur them to seek further support.


March 9, 2018

How social networks help perpetuate the ‘Cycle of Segregation’

Kyle Crowder is co-author of "Cycle of Segregation."

  Think about the last time you looked for a new apartment or house. Maybe you asked your friends or colleagues about where they lived. You thought about your route to work, or that neighborhood you always drive through on your way to your kid’s soccer practice. Many of these places were familiar to you,…


March 8, 2018

‘Trump in the World’: Jackson School faculty give public talks through spring quarter

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The UW Jackson School of International Studies presents “Trump in the World: International Implications of the Trump presidency,” a series of public lectures and discussions Tuesday afternoons through spring quarter.


UW political scientist Megan Ming Francis named fellow with NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Institute

UW political science associate professor Megan Ming Francis. Story is that she has been named a fellow of the NAACP's Thurgood Marshall Institute.

Megan Ming Francis, UW associate professor of political science, has been named a fellow with the Thurgood Marshall Institute. The institute is a multidisciplinary research and advocacy policy center within the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund.


March 7, 2018

Is there a glass ceiling in academic publishing?

Student researchers at the Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab

A University of Washington study finds that women authors are significantly under-represented in high-profile academic journals.


March 5, 2018

Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies to hold ‘Re-imagining Solidarity’ conference March 10

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Immigrant rights, environmental concerns and racial, class, gender and sexual justice will be the focus of a daylong conference hosted by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies March 10 at the UW.


March 1, 2018

Tri-campus survey aims to identify student struggles with housing, food costs

The housing and food survey is open to any UW student age 18 or older.

    In a region as expensive as the Puget Sound, making ends meet affects college students, too. Rent, utilities and food can run into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month – and for students without the means, it’s a daunting and sometimes compromising challenge. Urban@UW is trying to learn more about…


February 27, 2018

Mining memories for stories of ‘real black grandmothers’

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LaShawnDa Pittman, a UW assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies, is collecting stories of African-American grandmothers, past and present, on her Real Black Grandmothers website.


February 22, 2018

New curriculum prioritizes tribal sovereignty, cultural respect in scientific research of American Indian, Alaska Native communities

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    When scientists have conducted research in Native American communities, the process and the results have sometimes been controversial. There have been a few well-known cases, such as the 1979 Barrow Alcohol Study, in which researchers examined substance use in the tiny Arctic Circle town and issued findings to the press, before briefing the…


February 21, 2018

A talk with UW historian Quintard Taylor: Taking ‘the long view’ in troubled times

Quintard Taylor giving the 2016 Denny Lecture at the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quintard Taylor, UW professor emeritus of history and recipient of a lifetime achievement honor from Washington State Historical Society, discusses his work and this unusual moment in American history.


January 31, 2018

Reconstructing an ancient lethal weapon

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    Archaeologists are a little like forensic investigators: They scour the remains of past societies, looking for clues in pottery, tools and bones about how people lived, and how they died. And just as detectives might re-create the scene of a crime, University of Washington archaeologists have re-created the weapons used by hunter-gatherers in…


January 30, 2018

Depression, anxiety affect more than one-fourth of state’s college students

A study of college students from around the state shows the prevalence of depression and anxiety. Suicide prevention advocates say this illustrates the need for more mental health resources on campuses.

  Nearly one-third of Washington college students have experienced depression in the last year, and more than 10 percent have had thoughts of suicide, according to a new survey of young adults attending schools around the state. The survey of more than 10,000 students at 13 of Washington’s two- and four-year institutions shows the need…


January 25, 2018

Dan Berger discusses excesses of incarceration in new book ‘Rethinking the American Prison Movement’

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Dan Berger, associate professor in the UW Bothell School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, discusses his new book, “Rethinking the American Prison Movement.”


January 18, 2018

Civil War-era U.S. Navy ships’ logs to be explored for climate data, maritime history

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A new grant will let a University of Washington-based project add a new fleet to its quest to learn more about past climate from the records of long-gone mariners. The UW is among the winners of the 2017 “Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives” awards, announced Jan. 4 by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library…


January 16, 2018

Task interrupted: A plan for returning helps you move on

Bronze W fall

Get interrupted at work much? Making a quick plan for returning to and completing the task you’re leaving will help you focus better on the interrupting work, according to new research from the University of Washington.


A ‘touching sight’: How babies’ brains process touch builds foundations for learning

A 7-month-old baby sits in the Magnetoencephalography machine at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. An I-LABS study shows how babies' brains register "felt touch" and "observed touch."

  Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby’s brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom’s face, or the sound of her voice. Now, through the use of safe, new brain imaging techniques, University of Washington researchers provide one of the…


January 11, 2018

Can the president really do that? Two UW law professors give answers in new book

University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts have published a new book as the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration approaches. "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law" is available on Amazon.

Can the president single-handedly toss out environmental rules designed to combat global warming? Force states like Washington to help enforce federal immigration laws? Fire Robert Mueller? No, no, and not directly, say Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts, professors of law at the University of Washington, in a new book. The answers, of course, are more complicated…


January 5, 2018

UW ranks No. 5 nationally for social science research funding

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    The University of Washington is ranked fifth among more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities for social science research funding, according to a new report. The Consortium of Social Science Association’s 2018 College and University Rankings for Federal Social and Behavioral Science R&D was released this week. The UW, with $38.6 million in…


January 4, 2018

New book ‘City Unsilenced’ explores protest and public space

"City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy," edited by the UW's Jeff Hou, with Sabine Knierbein, was published by Routledge

Jeff Hou, UW professor of landscape architecture, discusses the new book he co-edited with Sabine Knierbein, “City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy.”


December 21, 2017

Promoting self-esteem among African-American girls through racial, cultural connections

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    For African-American students, data, alongside societal attitudes and stereotypes, often present a negative picture: a wide academic achievement gap separating them from their white peers. Higher rates of discipline and absenteeism. Discrimination by other students, teachers and the larger community. And just last summer, a study indicated that black girls, from an early…


December 6, 2017

Martin Luther, Steve Jobs and aspirational faith: Q & A with UW sociologist Steve Pfaff on ‘The Spiritual Virtuoso’

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Alongside the political polarization that has permeated seemingly every issue in American life, there is a similar dichotomy in religion.On one side are those who suggest religion is dying, that’s it’s irrelevant, a force for ill and oppression, explains University of Washington sociology professor Steve Pfaff. On the other are those who say religion is…


November 30, 2017

Explore India’s ‘informal economies’ at symposium Dec. 1-2

A symposium will examine the lives of workers in India's "informal economies." Here, a woman known as Aunty Mummy is considered a go-to person in her village.

The labor of India’s lower castes — in areas such as agriculture, transportation, construction and the sex trade — occupies about 90 percent of the country’s workforce. Many of these urban jobs draw workers from rural villages, people who struggle to make a living not only for themselves, but also for the relatives they’ve left…


November 28, 2017

UW students win Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize for most engaging socialbot

The UW Sounding Board team (left to right: Hao Fang, Hao Cheng, Ari Holtzman, Mari Ostendorf, Maarten Sap, Elizabeth Clark, Yejin Choi) wins Amazon's first Alexa Prize.

A team of University of Washington students and faculty has won Amazon’s inaugural Alexa Prize, a university competition designed to produce an artificial intelligence agent capable of coherent and sustained conversation with humans.


November 27, 2017

UW’s Doorway Project kicks off services for homeless youth

The University District includes a significant portion of King County's homeless youth population. A new effort by the University of Washington aims to help homeless young people become more self-sufficient.

  Seattle’s homeless crisis isn’t confined to one part of town – nor does it hinge on one solution. The University District community includes as much as one-third of King County’s homeless youth over any given year. It’s a neighborhood where a food bank and youth shelter are available, and where young people on the…


November 22, 2017

Two UW professors named to the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare

2016 SPEP Thank You Photos

Edwina Uehara, dean of the University of Washington School of Social Work, and social work professor Karen Fredriksen Goldsen have been named fellows of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. The two are among 14 new fellows to be inducted by the organization, which honors scholarship, leadership and high-impact work in the…



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