ASU professor begins National Science Foundation post

July 6, 2012

ASU’s Marjorie Zatz is headed to Washington, D.C., to begin a two-year appointment with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on July 16 as director of the Law and Social Sciences program in NSF’s Division of Social and Economic Sciences. In her new role Zatz will influence the direction of research into the ways that law, legal institutions, and legal processes and decision-making impact people and communities.

Zatz, a professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has served as a principal investigator on several NSF research grants – supporting basic research, a workshop, and to support her students’ dissertation research. She most recently served as co-principal investigator for a 2009-2011 study of immigration and immigrant communities. (An edited book resulting from that work is in production at New York University Press, “Punishing Immigrants: Policy, Politics and Injustice.”) Marjorie Zatz Download Full Image

“I’m excited by this opportunity to contribute to cutting edge research on law and the social sciences,” says Zatz, who combines strong disciplinary training in sociology with three decades of interdisciplinary research and teaching in justice studies. “The National Science Foundation has always been a strong supporter of disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, and in the past few years it has taken additional steps to actively encourage transdisciplinary knowledge and capacity building. I’m honored to be a part of that effort and look forward to helping to shape the research agenda in my field.”

Many projects funded by NSF’s Law and Social Sciences program take into account the growing interdependence and interconnections of the world and so extend beyond national boundaries, looking at how national legal systems and cultures affect or are affected by transnational or international phenomena. The program also encourages diverse theoretical perspectives and contexts for study. For example, research on social control, crime causation, violence, victimization, legal and social change, patterns of discretion, procedural justice, compliance and deterrence, and regulatory enforcement are areas that have received recent support. 

Zatz brings to her new challenges a range of administrative skills and international perspectives gained over a 30-year career that was launched at ASU. She earned a doctorate in sociology at Indiana University with a minor in Latin American Studies and came to Arizona State University in 1982 as an assistant professor in what was then the School of Justice Studies. Zatz helped establish one of the first interdisciplinary law and social sciences doctoral programs in the country at ASU in 1986. Over the last 11 years her leadership assignments have included work as University Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, Associate Dean in the Graduate College, Director of the School of Justice and Social Inquiry, and most recently as director of Justice and Social Inquiry and of strategic initiatives in the School of Social Transformation.

Zatz, who is fluent in Spanish, conducted ethnographic research in Cuba and Nicaragua early in her career and was a visiting researcher in the Faculty of Law at the University of Havana, Cuba, in 1989. She is active in sustaining international scholarly networks with ASU and the Czech Academy of Science and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. In spring 2012 she served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Melbourne, Australia, working with colleagues at the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University and the School of Graduate Research at RMIT. She has been one of the leaders in developing ASU Study Abroad’s Sustainability and Social Justice in the Middle East partnership program with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Her breadth of scholarship related to analyses of immigration policy, juvenile justice, race, gender and juvenile and criminal court processing and sanctioning, feminist criminology, and Chicano gangs and their communities has garnered national and regional awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Criminology Division on People of Color and Crime, and several awards from the Western Society of Criminology.

Two of the key scientific communities for the law and social sciences program at NSF are the American Society of Criminology and the Law and Society Association, and Zatz has served on the executive boards of both associations. 

“In Marjorie ASU has a terrific representative on the national stage,” says School of Social Transformation director Mary Margaret Fonow. “A strategic thinker and experienced collaborator across disciplines and world geographies, she will provide forward-thinking leadership to scholars developing basic NSF research so vital to our understanding of human and societal problems.”

While serving as director for the Law and Social Sciences program at NSF, Zatz will continue to be involved with the School of Social Transformation’s John P. Frank Memorial Lecture. One of ASU’s signature annual events, it honors the memory and remarkable career of longtime Arizona lawyer John P. Frank; in 2013 the series will feature New York Times columnist Gail Collins on Feb. 25.

Maureen Roen

Manager, Creative Services, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


Symposium to examine the ethics of cheating

July 6, 2012

Cheating figures in our daily lives, whether it is cheating on our diets or high-profile public sports figures facing accusations of doping, like Lance Armstrong or Barry Bonds.
“Ought we to be worried that cheating in sport appears to be on the rise?” poses Jason Robert, a professor in the School of Life Sciences and a Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Biotechnology with ASU’s Center for Applied Ethics. “Does it matter if the sport is professional, as in the National Football League or Le Tour de France; amateur, as in the Olympics; or amateur, as in weekend warriors running 5k races?”

Moreover, who decides what cheating behavior is? What are the rules about cheating when it comes to such important matters as national security? And is cheating always wrong wherever it occurs? Triple Helix students with ASU President's Professor Brad Allenby Download Full Image

Nature is rife with examples of successful cheaters. Male cuttlefish imitate females to get access to another’s mate. Cuckoo birds lay eggs in other birds’ nests to raise their young. Plants mimic bees to get pollinated. Spiders mimic ants to get dinner and protection. The list is long and evolutionarily speaking, a productive strategy – but then, there are also victims.

Examining what should guide us in our own choices and society's choices forms the core of the exciting and interactive David C. Lincoln Ethics Symposium, “The Ethics of Cheating: Cheaters and Victims in Today’s Society,”  from 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 24, at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Hosted by ASU’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, the symposium brings together the public, college students and high school students from 11 schools around the Valley.

“Cheating and questions of ethics are of particular prominence in the news, most especially with national elections coming up,” says Kelly O’Brien, programs director for the center. “This symposium, in particular, will help us learn from students and the public what areas of cheating concern them regarding sports, human rights, national security and media – including the way our opinions and prejudices may be manipulated by media.”

Participants from local high schools will be given readings and discussion topics in advance, covering four topics areas: cheating in war and national security, cheating minorities in the media, cheating in sports, and cheating in international human rights.

“International human rights law is viewed as something certain and upstanding – a formal way of ensuring that states uphold widely accepted moral standards," notes Daniel Rothenberg, a Lincoln Fellow of Ethics and International Human Rights Law. "Yet, most human rights treaties allow states to include their own interpretations of specific provisions. Is this cheating? Like letting each team in a competition define their own idea as to what constitutes a foul or, for that matter, a goal?”

Four Lincoln Professors, or Fellows, will head up each of the symposium’s thought-provoking sessions. These include Robert; Rothenberg; Braden Allenby, an ASU President's Professor and Lincoln Professor of Engineering and Ethics; and Sharon Bramlett-Soloman, a Lincoln Fellow of Media and Culture. All of the sessions will be moderated by Peter French, the director of the Lincoln Center, and supported by volunteers from ASU’s Triple Helix. Closing remarks will be made by the founder of the Lincoln Center, Mr. David C. Lincoln.

The event is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited and priority is given to students. An RSVP is required to attend: Only 100 seats remain.

More than 100 of the 500 students already signed up to attend the symposium will come from ASU’s Preparatory Academy on the Polytechnic campus, a high school leadership academy for grades K-8 in East Mesa. High school students also are coming from Tempe High School’s International Baccalaureate Program, Camelback High School, Arcadia High School, Phoenix Country Day School’s Upper School, Genesis Academy, Xavier College Preparatory High School, Estrella High School, Tesseract School’s Upper School, Hamilton High School, and Paradise Valley High School’s Center for Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST), which hosts the largest Quanta program for youth in the area. The Quanta Foundation is an ASU student initiative launched in 2011 to build mentorship and interactions between high school and college students and faculty advisors around projects in science communication.

“We also hope that our student and public partners leave with questions that cause them to further apply ethics in their daily lives and choices,” adds O’Brien.

“The Ethics of Cheating” symposium is the third in the Lincoln Center’s annual symposium series and is modeled after a larger center event, also titled “The Ethics of Cheating,” to be offered Aug. 5-11 at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Founded in 1874 and affectionately termed a “summer camp for intellectuals,” Chautauqua features nine weeks of fine and literary arts, interfaith worship and educational programs. This is the Lincoln Center’s 11th year of involvement at Chautauqua. The relationship has also built close institutional ties to some of the center’s programs, such as the Consortium on Emerging Technologies, Military Operations and National Security (CETMONS), headed by Allenby.

“Our Lincoln Fellows and Professors are experts with outstanding credentials in their disciplines who are interested in and exploring the ethical implications and issues that arise in practice in their fields,” French says. “This unique feature sets us apart in what we can offer our community and from all other kinds of ethics centers, where the theoretical aspects of ethics dominate.”
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Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost