May 28, 2021

In the News: New Gubernatorial Appointment, Coping With Pandemic Stagnation, and More

HAVING AN IMPACT: Some recent highlights and news from CGU's School of Social Science, Policy and Evaluation.

Newsom Appointment: California Governor Gavin Newsom announced several new appointments this week, including the appointment of Somjita Mitra (PhD, Economics, ’07), as chief economist at the California Department of Finance. Prior to joining the department in 2019, Mitra had served in various roles with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. She is a member of the Council for Community and Economic Research and National Association for Business Economics. In addition to her doctorate from the university’s Division of Politics & Economics, Mitra also holds a master’s degree from CGU in Politics, Economics and Business.

DPE alumna Somjita Mitra

Feeling ‘Meh’: While working on an Executive Management certificate at the Drucker School, lawyer and mediator Jill Switzer had an opportunity to study with some of the university’s leading figures, including Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. She recalls her academic experience with “Mike C” in the piece “Are You Languishing? ‘Meh’ is the perfect word to describe that kind of nether world in which we find ourselves these days” published at the website Above the Law.

In her discussion with Wharton organizational psychologist Adam Grant about feelings of stagnation caused by quarantine and the pandemic, Switzer recalls the inspiring lessons learned at CGU at the hands of the figure who famously coined the term “flow” to describe a deep state of psychological concentration. Switzer recalls the impact of Mike C’s groundbreaking book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience on her and how the pandemic is a reason to revisit it.

“Reading his book and taking his class were two of the most memorable educational experiences I have ever had,” she writes. “Grant has reminded me that it’s time for me to reread Csikszentmihalyi’s book.”

Jill Switzer

Trust Factor: Forbes’ John Hall talked to Professor of Neuroeconomics Paul Zak about how trust (or the absence of it) affects everything in a corporate environment, from company performance to staff turnover. The article looks at the results of a decade-long study by Zak and his research team. Those results include how increased trust fosters more collaboration and, not surprisingly, more productivity.

Professor of Neuroeconomics Paul Zak