UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Professor and online graduate student collaborate to publish peer-reviewed article

Focus of research is environmental and social costs of international shipping industry

UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Professor Chad J. McGuire, Director of the Graduate Online Environmental Policy Certificate Program (EPCP); and Helen Perivier, an online graduate student in the program currently living in Lisbon, Portugal, have collaborated on a research article to be published in the February 2011 issue of the International Journal of Sustainable Development.   

"What is interesting about this collaboration is the fact that it was entirely based in an online environment," Professor McGuire said.  "Helen and I have never met in-person, but we were able to fully collaborate on this development of this research online. Generating a piece of primary literature in this way is a first for me." 

The article, focusing on the environmental impacts of commercial shipping, was inspired by work Perivier did as part of her coursework while a student in the EPCP.  The collaboration began when Professor McGuire discovered interesting themes in her Spring 2010 Environmental Policy course paper and offered to work with her on the development of these themes into a more substantial piece of research, which ultimately led to the forthcoming journal article. 

"The online program at the Department of Public Policy at UMass provides a dynamic classroom setting where students and faculty meet to explore and debate the relevant policy issues of today," Perivier said. "Professor McGuire's encouragement and taking the extra effort to collaborate with me on this project shows that UMass truly takes the academic and professional interests of its students to heart." 

The article, entitled The Non-existence of Sustainability in International Maritime Shipping: Issues for Consideration, focuses on the environmental and social justice policy issues connected surrounding international commercial shipping.  The authors identify drivers of negative environmental and social justice outcomes such as the allowance of foreign flagging and lax port-state controls on maritime vessels. 
"What we see is a short-sighted policy that creates environmental and social costs and threatens a sustainable level of globalization," Professor McGuire said.   
"The fact that over 80 percent of the world's large ships are sent for dismantling to the beaches of southeast Asia under dangerous and polluting conditions is just one glaring symptom out of many calling for greater sustainability within the shipping industry," Perivier said. 

Perivier has been working with non-profit organizations involved with the impacts of foreign flagging - the practice of ship owners "shopping" for ports with the lowest environmental and labor costs.  While this practice keeps the direct costs of shipping low (good for business), it discounts environmental and social justice considerations, according to the article. Most recently, she has been working in India to help shipyard workers in that country establish basic social rights, including equitable wages and occupational safety. 

"This successful collaboration reflects UMass Dartmouth's commitment to ensuring that our online programs provide our students with the same opportunities to learn from and work with our full-time faculty that students in our face-to-face programs have enjoyed for many years," said Michael Goodman, Associate Professor and Chair of the UMass Dartmouth Department of Public Policy and Director of its Master's in Public Policy Program. 

"While our current and prospective online student body is increasingly worlds apart in the traditional sense, innovations such as this major collaborative achievement demonstrate that through ongoing adaptations of online learning methods and techniques our learners and teachers have never had as great an opportunity to be closer together than now," said Jennifer Brady, Associate Vice President for Business Development at UMassOnline. "Thanks to such developments on the UMass campuses by dedicated online faculty like Professor McGuire and ready learners, UMassOnline's 'One World Class' positioning of the university's online programs has never been more appropriate." 

A draft of the article can be accessed at: 


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