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Expectations of the Obama Administration

Expectations of the Obama Administration

UCR scholars are available to comment on the president-elect’s Cabinet choices and challenges he will confront on Jan. 20.

(December 3, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - President-elect Barack Obama will face extraordinary challenges when he takes office – an economy in crisis, two wars, national security, global warming, developing alternative energy sources, health care, and many more. Expectations are high, both at home and abroad.

As you report the progress of his transition team and Cabinet nominations, please consider these experts from the University of California, Riverside.

Great Expectations

Katharine Sweeny

Assistant professor of psychology
(951) 827-5243

Many people’s high hopes for an Obama presidency might start to sink as they face the impending realities of what he might actually be able to do. One area of Katharine Sweeny’s research examines the way people shift their expectations downward, from optimism more toward pessimism, as the “moment of truth” draws near.


Anil Deolalikar

Professor of economics
Associate dean, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
(951) 827-2443

Reviving the economy must be President-elect Obama’s priority, Anil Deolalikar says. To prevent the collapse of the economy a new stimulus is needed – a program of increased government spending, perhaps construction projects that governments have already deemed worthy, but for which funding has been unavailable. Deolalikar is available to talk about economic issues, particularly relating to the financial crises; global cooperation on economic matters; and global health issues such as AIDS-related assistance to Africa.

Marcelle Chauvet
Associate professor of economics
(951) 827-1587

The United States is in a recession, and it’s getting worse, says Marcelle Chauvet, who specializes in probabilities and computer analyses of the economy. She has developed a real-time recession prediction model and is consulted frequently by the U.S. government, foreign governments and the international business community. The economy today is in worse shape than in 2001, Chauvet says, and is comparable to the more severe 1990 recession (which was tied to the Gulf War). She is available to discuss economic issues President-elect Obama will face in the first year of his presidency.

Foreign Policy

Muhamad Ali

Assistant professor of religious studies
(951) 827-5111

The election of Barack Obama represents a new direction in how the United States relates to the rest of the world, a change that is particularly welcomed by Muslim nations, Muhamad Ali says. “The positive response from the Muslim world suggests there is no anti-Americanism,” he says. “They have been critical of American foreign policy. They see Obama’s election as a victory of American values. … They see this as a sign of democracy’s workability.” Ali is available to talk about topics relating to Obama’s life, his faith and background, and U.S. relationships and foreign policy in the Muslim world.

Regulatory Reform

John W. Cioffi

Assistant professor of political science
(951) 827-7269

John Cioffi argues that the current financial meltdown is the product of massive regulatory failure and has largely discredited the deregulatory politics and ideology of the last three decades. One of the central items on the Obama administration’s policy agenda is a sweeping transformation of American – and possibly international – financial regulation. Cioffi foresees substantial strengthening of financial disclosure and corporate governance rules governing the financial sector, much stricter limits on leverage for all types of financial institutions, and substantial regulatory consolidation and centralization. A political scientist and attorney, Professor Cioffi is available to comment on matters of domestic and international regulatory and economic policy, and on future legal responses to the scandals of the Bush era.


Karthick Ramakrishnan

Associate professor of political science
(951) 827-5440

So far, President-elect Obama’s appointments of Latinos and Asian Americans to key posts in his administration have been limited, and the prospects for immigration reform in the first year of his presidency are likely to be limited as well, says Karthick Ramakrishnan. Professor Ramakrishnan co-authored a groundbreaking study on Asian American voters released in October 2008, and has conducted research on immigration in the United States, political participation, civic voluntarism, and the politics of race and ethnicity.

Stem Cell Research

Prue Talbot

Professor of cell biology
Director of the Stem Cell Center
(951) 827-3768

Prue Talbot is an expert on the effects of environmental toxicants on mammalian reproduction and early development. She is available to discuss how stem cell research may change in the United States during the Obama administration and can speak about a number of topics related to stem cells, including what stem cells are, the different kinds of stem cells, their properties (including similarities and differences), potential uses of stem cells, and stem cell research and funding.

Nicole zur Nieden
Assistant professor of cell biology and neuroscience
(951) 827-3818

Nicole zur Nieden, a stem cell biologist with expertise in toxicology and bioengineering, can speak on a variety of topics related to stem cell research, such as ethical issues surrounding stem cell research, how stem cells work, and the funding of stem cell research (both in the United States and other countries). She has worked on developing methods for using embryonic stem cells to monitor environmental toxicants and to regenerate bone tissue. She has developed projects on how to grow stem cells to large numbers and direct their differentiation.

Research, Education, Science Funding

Thomas O. Baldwin

Dean, College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
(951) 827-3101

Thomas O. Baldwin, a biochemist well known for his studies on protein folding, has served on numerous committees and panels of the National Science Foundatin and the National Institutes of Health. He also has served in a variety of elected and appointed positions in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Protein Society and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The holder of six patents based on his research, Baldwin is available to discuss how research, education and funding in science may change in the U.S. during the Obama administration.

Pam Clute
Executive director, Academy of Learning through Partnerships for Higher Education (ALPHA) Center
(951) 827-5425

Pam Clute is a nationally known motivational teacher, speaker and scholar in mathematics and education. She is executive director of the ALPHA Center, which seeks to increase the historically low rate of college-qualified high school graduates from inland Southern California and to ensure their success once enrolled. She is available to discuss the need to emphasize science and math education to better compete in a global economy.

Anne Jones
Director of teacher education, Graduate School of Education
(951) 827-5488

Anne Jones’ research focuses on teacher preparation, assessment and accommodations, and autism. She is available to discuss strategies for improving K-12 education.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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