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Spotlight: News Briefs

A Look at the Income Gap

While the Federal Reserve has maintained historically low interest rates since the credit crisis to revive the economy, a study by Assistant Economics Professor Edmond Berisha suggests that doing so may exacerbate income inequality because the middle class borrows more money and goes further into debt while the wealthy derive a larger portion of their income from interest rate-sensitive assets.

After looking at almost 100 years’ worth of economic and income information from the World Wealth and Income Database. Berisha and researchers from the U.S. Postal Service and West Virginia University concluded that higher stock prices, lower interest rates and household debt all have a negative impact on income equality.

Their research appears in the February 2018 issue of the Journal of International Money and Finance.

“The length of our series is important as it allows us to observe inequality through different historical periods,” Berisha says.

Breaking the Arts Glass Ceiling

Executive Director for Arts and Cultural Programming Jedediah Wheeler received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to present three multidisciplinary artworks with women as the central creative forces, allowing for the current Peak Performances season to consist entirely of new works by women titled “Women Innovators in the Performing Arts.”

“The temper of the times demands a statement: There is no excuse for the remarkably slow progress toward gender parity in the arts,” Wheeler says. “I hear time and again that there is a glass ceiling in the arts. Devoting the entire Peak Performances season to the work of these exceptional artists is a continuation of our long-held commitment to shattering that ceiling.” See for more information.

Encouraging Local Political Discourse

The Center for Cooperative Media at the School of Communication and Media received funding to spearhead a project that encouraged civil political dialogue and educated voters in neighborhoods across the Garden State.

Voting Block, a collaborative reporting project on issues important to voters during New Jersey’s 2017 gubernatorial race, launched in June with a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation through its partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Initial Voting Block news partners included WNYC, WHYY, WBGO, NJ Spotlight and The Record/USA Today Network and grew to add 15 hyperlocal news organizations around the state.

Center for Cooperative Media Director Stefanie Murray says Voting Block represented a new way of collaborating to tell stories at the local level as reporters repeatedly returned to the same neighborhoods to help people understand opposing positions through dialogue.

Celebrating 20 Years of Graduate Research

For 20 years, The Graduate School at Montclair State has made a substantial commitment to expanding its master’s and doctoral degree programs, milestones that contributed to the University’s recent designation as a research doctoral university and met the educational needs of New Jersey. The University offers nearly 100 graduate programs, as well as post-baccalaureate certificates and certifications, many geared toward future teachers. U.S. News & World Report includes the school’s graduate education programs on its 2017 Best Education Schools top 100 list and its teacher education programs among the top 15 in the country.

Some 3,930 students are enrolled in 40 master’s programs with 270 pursuing doctorates in eight programs. The offerings over the past two decades have been strategically selected to help shape the future and “illustrate the wideranging research opportunities we provide for the next generation of scientists and professionals,” Dean Joan Ficke says.